8 Down; 6 To Go

Bioluminescence –noun; the production of light by living organisms

Last month I made reservations with A Day Away Outfitters and Kayak Tours for a 10:00pm kayak tour on the Indian River Lagoon in hopes of witnessing the magical light show produced by the plankton. We scheduled for the Friday before the new moon since viewing is best on dark nights.

The tour met at the Haulover Canal Launch where we checked in and were issued life jackets, whistles, paddles, and either blue, orange, or green glow sticks. Our group, the blue group, was first to launch and from the first stroke of the paddle, the water lit up with eerie bluish green streaks. Every disturbance in the water created light!


We watched the kayak glide through the water trailing the light. We dipped our hands in and marveled at the light produced by the drips. We splashed and paddled. We created swirls. But the most amazing light was produced by the fish swimming through the water.

Mullet streaked through the deeper water (deeper = about 4 feet) and darted through the shallow water launching themselves through the air. One even ended up in one of the kayaks…fortunately the boat of one of our guides, although another fish hit one of the kayakers before falling back into the lagoon.

A Day Away warned us that bringing cameras would prove useless for capturing the experience, but we brought a water proof camera nonetheless. They were right. You can’t capture the ghost-like glow but ghost-like really does describe what we saw. The same spooky light used in movies or by Disney to represent the phantoms sailing through the Haunted Mansion.

Our ninety minute tour didn’t return until midnight almost thirty minutes late. No one was in a hurry to get back to shore. Bioluminescence in the water and a star filled sky overhead mesmerized the blue group!

Eight down, six to go on this year’s list of 14 in 14.

See Blowing Rocks

You can’t drive in the south without see the ubiquitous See Rock City signs, but instead of Rock City, we visited Blowing Rocks Preserve on Jupiter Island.

Blowing Rocks Preserve is a barrier island sanctuary set aside to protect both the rocky limestone coast along the Atlantic Ocean and the mangroves, and tropical and oak hammocks on the Indian River Lagoon. From the Hawley Environmental Center a trail wanders through native species to the Indian River where mangrove restoration is underway.

Across the road from the Environmental Center you’ll find the sandy path leading to the Atlantic. Pay the $2.00 fee at the ticket kiosk and then continue down the sea grape lined trail to a beach unlike any other the Florida. Limestone rock eroded by the waves leaves sea caves along the shore.

On rough days, the waves crash through the rocks at heights up to 50 feet…not the case on the day we visited. No large waves, however, an aggregation of manatee could be seen just offshore.

With two and a half miles of trails, sea caves, tidal pools, reefs, and nesting sea turtles I’m surprised there are no signs in Florida shouting, See Blowing Rocks; but that’s a good thing…let’s keep this place a secret.