Why the waters off Juhu Beach are glowing blue at night | Condé Nast Traveller India


Juhu Bioluminiscence
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“Sea Sparkle” causing electric blue waves at Juhu Beach, Mumbai. Photo: Anurag Karekar

If you’re a beach baby, you can now enjoy its beauty way past dusk in Mumbai. Over the past couple of nights, the waves breaking at the shores of Juhu Beach have been shimmering in a shade of electric blue due to a phenomenon known as bioluminescence, leaving spectators bedazzled. 

If you would like to witness this, head to Juhu Beach after 8pm; the cement jetty would be the best vantage point. And if you know someone with a membership, Soho House Mumbai would also be a sweet spot to enjoy the view. 

What causes this bioluminescence

Noctiluca scintillans, or “sea sparkle”, is a species of bioluminescent marine microbes that’s responsible for the blue hues in the waters. While several bioluminescent creatures reside in the depths of the ocean, it’s not the most common sight to behold so close to the shore. 

When the waves churn, these unicellular organisms get agitated and disturbed, which prompts them to release an electric blue light. These organisms are generally over 2kms away from the coastline, but a change in currents can wash them ashore. 

The most recent spectacle was captured by Shaunak Modi, co-founder of Coastal Conservation Foundation and a member of Marine Life of Mumbai. The bioluminescence at Juhu is likely to be around for a couple of more days. 

 

Such bioluminescence was recently spotted on the coasts of Karnataka, Goa and southern Maharashtra. It was previously spotted at these places in 2016 and 2019 and is a common phenomenon in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Coast.

While it’s a magical sight, bioluminescence is not great for the environment. Smaller blooms of these microorganisms can be harmless, but larger, slow-moving blooms can lead to the death of fish in its vicinity. 



Updated: November 27, 2020 — 10:16 am

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