One of the most incredible experiences that I've ever had was in Jamaica this past week as we headed out on a small, private boat (there were about 15 of us) to the Luminous Lagoon - a natural phenomenon. Imagine the quiet, pitch black water and the bright stars in the sky. Climbing off of the boat and swimming with your best breast-stroke and watching the water light up and glow - its a surreal experience that can't be described....just another one of those moments that makes you realize what a tiny piece of this world you occupy.
The Luminous Lagoon stretches along the marshlands of Trelawny from the small community of Rock to the town of Falmouth. In the 18th century when sugar was king, Falmouth was one of Jamaica's most pivotal ports. Located at the eminent point where the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea, the lagoon housed a wharf where large vessels from England unloaded goods onto smaller ships to be delivered inland up the river. Once inland, these boats would reload with sugar, rum and other Jamaican exports and carry them back to the harbor. Years after the decline of the sugar trade, scientists discovered the lagoon's geographical location was important for another reason. It was the single best place to observe and study microorganisms called dinoflagellates, which thrive in the layers where salt and fresh water combine and glow the brightest in shallow, warm water.
Being home to millions of dinoflagellates. At night, the lagoon sparkles and glistens when disturbed, as these microscopic organisms produce an eerie glow, reflecting the outlines of fish and other objects in the water. The Luminous Lagoon is said to be the largest and most brilliant of four in the world, a fact that continually attracts and awes visitors and scientists from around the world.
The natural phenomenon for yourself. Departing every night from the Glistening Waters Marina, crowded tour boats take visitors on a ride around the lagoon but you can let us help you arrange a private tour with your own group. The highlight of the 45-minute tour? The part where you get to jump out and swim, your body surrounded by the luminous green glow. Interestingly, if you use a flash, you won't see the glow, but if you don't use the flash, you'll see the glow but not yourself in the photo. But don't take my word for it - take the tour yourself and thank me later!
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