el diablo robotico (platypus) wrote,
el diablo robotico
platypus

I have never been that big a fan of the ocean. The first time Ken and I went to the beach, we got hit by an enormous wave that knocked us down and left us breathless; I was so soaked I didn't know for an instant if I was under water or out of it, and I took a breath not knowing if there was any air to breathe. Given that my most feared form of death is anything involving suffocation, that instant lingers in my memory, and inspires a certain level of apprehensive respect. I am an adequate swimmer, but I know nothing of waves and sudden drop-offs and riptides; in any other circumstance, water and I are soon united, but I'm a little intimidated by the ocean. I like the thought of it, the vastness, the feeling of standing on the edge of the world... but if you really want to know, Lake Michigan also engulfs the horizon, so I'm kind of used to it. I can't really conceptualize that water going on all the way to Asia. And the spray blurs my glasses, the humidity rusts my bicycle, and the ocean brings in clouds every night so I never see the stars.

All is forgiven, though. Last night, we went to the beach. I'd heard that the bioluminescent dinoflagellates were out in force, and wanted to see.

It was amazing. The crests of the incoming waves flashed a brilliant bluish green, sometimes holding on for several seconds. It was eerie. Some waves wouldn't show any luminescence at all, and then several would be so shockingly bright I could only laugh. Words were inadequate. I waded in and collected a couple of jars full of water, to shake at home later. When I put a two-liter bottle under the surface of the water and squeezed it to get the air out, a jet of light showed where the bubbles were. They say that when you're out diving, or swimming in deeper water, you leave a glowing trail every time you move.

At home, the jars of water seemed disappointing -- a faint flash when shaken, then nothing. I went to bed and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, then went to see the water bottles.

I was astonished. Just sitting there on the counter, the bottles were glimmering, random little specks of light twinkling like tiny fireflies in the water. When I picked up a bottle and shook it, the whole thing lit up -- not individual dots anymore, just a solid jar of light. We could see by it.

We've seen these algae blooms before, but never anything like this. It's one of the most wondrous things I've ever seen. I wish I dared swim in the ocean at night. I am satisfied, though, to take a little ocean home with me.
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