If you keep up with all that is viral, it’s likely you’ve come across these pictures of the ‘Sea of Stars’.
Bioluminescence in the waters of Maldives is nothing new. All you have to do is trail your fingers through the water at night, and you’ll see a bluish glitter. These are phytoplankton in the water reacting to disturbance.
But glittery phytoplankton takes a backstage in the phenomenon now famous as the Sea of Stars.
The ‘Sea of Stars’ got famous because it lasts longer, and thus, shows up clearly on long-exposure photography. It lasts longer than typical plankton bioluminescence because these shoreline light shows are held by creatures called ostracod crustaceans. They’re tiny cousins of crabs and shrimps. When disturbed, they can glow up to a minute.
You can spot this phenomenon at various islands in the Maldives. But the most famous location for sightings is Vaadoo Island in Raa Atoll.
The phenomenon can be seen in varying intensities year-round. But it’s highly unpredictable. There’s just no telling when these little guys start lighting up the beach. It simply happens when the number of ostracod crustaceans that wash up ashore increases.
What we do know is that they glow more intensely during the waning moon and that sightings increase beginning from mid-year. If you’re lucky, your trip to the Maldives might just coincide with this stunning display!