TLC’s “Wedding Island” featuring the Weddings in Vieques crew is on at 9 pm tonight in the UK – so set your DVRs my friends if you’re getting dressed to go out Halloweening! Kelsi’s blog today is funny as shit – her way of confessing something silly that she did with/to my interns last week. But more importantly, it’s a FANTASTIC layman’s description of the famous bioluminescent bay on Vieques Island.
And check out her Halloween costume – she’s Taylor Swift!
Until next time, happy wedding planning!
For those of you who know me in person or on social media, you know that I think the bioluminescent bay in Vieques is about the coolest thing since wine tumblers (you know you’re thinking it too – genius in cup form). Ironically, I had never even heard of a biobay before I moved to Vieques to intern after graduation.
Since all of my friends and family back home had no idea what I was raving about when I talked about my kayak trip through the neon glowing waters, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume most readers here don’t know much about bioluminescent bays either. I’m going to do my very best to describe one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, and still something a lot of people don’t even know exists. If you are getting married on Vieques, or even visiting, you must make sure you visit the famous glowing bay.
Vieques’ biobay, short for bioluminescent bay, is currently considered the brightest in the world. Because of this, it has also been called the “eighth wonder of the world.” There are various types of tours you can take to explore the wonders of the bay but, by far, I prefer kayak tours because it’s so much cooler when you’re close to the water and can splash it. The water glows neon blue (or green depending on the night and who you ask) when its disturbed thanks to tiny microscopic organisms called Dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are single-celled organisms that emit a bioluminescent light when disturbed as a natural defense mechanism. The result is water that appears to be glowing or sparkling when you see fish swim through it, or you disturb it with a kayak paddle or by running your hand through it. You may have seen bioluminescence in the water in other places, but NOTHING even close to what I’m trying to describe.
My most recent tour of the bio bay was by far my most humorous one so far thanks to my lovely interns, Kendra and Erika. I bribed Sandy to get Abe to let me tag along – she sends out all the new interns so they learn how to talk about it with clients. The tour guides assign each kayak a number at the beginning because it is easier to keep track of everyone in the group that way out on the dark water. Once we paddle out they do a sound off every now and then to make sure they haven’t lost anyone.
This particular tour, I was “eight” and my interns were “nine.” Once we launched, we traveled a distance of about 100 meters between the shore and stopping point in the middle where the guide gives his little spiel about the bay and lets us explore a little.
I was having the greatest time splashing and enjoying the water when the guide decided to do our first sound off. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, EIGHT,” and then silence. At this point it became obvious to me that we had lost my interns, but in my defense it was really dark and you couldn’t exactly see who was where. I quickly addressed the guide with my concerns and he assured me they were safe with another guide and would rejoin us shortly. Soon enough they came paddling up safe and sound, and I forgot they’d been missing at all because I was enjoying the bio bay way too much.
Later that night I found out the hilarious truth. And only now, when Sandy’s editing my blog, is she finding out what really happened (note: thanks Kelsi… groan). Kendra and Erika had neglected to mention before the tour that neither of them knew how to paddle a kayak, so thinking I was being nice, I let them go together in one boat, and went with a single guy in our group (two-man kayaks and there were three of us). Little did I know that the interns struggled so much with maneuvering the kayak that a guide actually had to tow them from the shore to our first stopping point.
Also, Kendra is slightly afraid of open water (another thing she neglected to mention) so the poor girl probably thought she was going to die the whole time (despite the fact that the whole bay is all of about 6 feet deep). Moral of the story: I get a big fat F when it comes to looking out for my interns during bio bay tours and I figured that I’d better fess up to it before the island’s official pirate, Abe, who owns the biobay company, totally busts me out to Sandy. They all know our company so that had to make for a really good story back at their office that night. Sorry guys!
Perhaps I am slightly over enthused on the whole thing, but you will be too when you see it! In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I think the biobay is all that – and a bag of chips. It is honestly the most incredible thing I have ever seen in my life and anybody who visit Vieques and skips the biobay is missing the whole point of this amazing island.
Lesson learned from this experience – never assume that just anyone knows how to effectively utilize a kayak paddle. Now I know, and next time I will make sure that all the interns have been properly educated on the matter. I think I’ll take the on the daytime paddle through the mangroves next times, if Abe’s will have us back.