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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 09-02-2008
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Bioluminescence on the Bay

This past Sunday I left Havre de Grace late (about 9pm) for Still Pond. About half way to Still Pond, outside the mouth of the Sassafrass, I was walking back to the cockpit from the foredeck when I noticed something in the water. In my bow wave was green bioluminescence! The water this far north is almost completely fresh. I think some some bacteria may be able to glow, but I'm not sure if glowing shrimp or plankton make it this far north.

I thought this was pretty cool, so I checked around to make sure I was the only boat out. With the coast clear, I ran blacked out for a few minutes to get a better look. The little glowing globs where glowing their brightest at the crest of my bow wave. There was quite alot of glowing coming from the prop wash too, but it was deeper underwater.

Then, last night, I was in Worton Creek and tried my luck there. I stirred the water up with my boat hook while standing in my cockpit. Sure enough, little green glowing globs. This time it wasn't as active, but I didn't expect it to be with just me stirring a little. I have never seen this on the Bay, and didn't expect it up this north. Has anyone else seen bioluminescence on the Bay? If so, where and what color?
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Old 09-02-2008
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We have lots of it in the PNW. Flush the head at night in the dark and you can watch them swirl in the toilet. I've done quite a few night dives and it's cool to turn off the lights and watch every exhalation stir up the glowing thingies all the way to the surface. I've also flown over the water after dark and seen obstructions in the water light up in the currents. Cool!
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The big suprise for me was where in the Bay this occured. The water I saw it in is 90% fresh. I don't think it's even considered brakish. I thought aquatic biolum was a saltwater thing.
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Old 09-03-2008
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I've found some info I think may be relevent.

Dinoflagellates - Wikipedia

They say they are common in fresh water habitats in the wiki article.
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I once (but only once) saw a single green flash swirling when I flushed the head in Back Creek. But then, Back Creek is green all the time - oh, wait, that's a different problem, eutrophication. Check out this satellite photo: 7074 bembe beach rd, annapolis md 21403 - Google Maps
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Old 09-03-2008
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Hey, aren't you up by Aberdeeen Proving Grounds?

Seriously, we sometimes see luminescent jellyfish, usually when anchored in a dark creek. They are a sort of fluorescent yellow/greenish color. Weird looking.
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Old 09-09-2008
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I have often seen glowing orbs in my wake. About the size and shape of the old glow-in-the-dark frisbees. I believe these are from the "Moon Jellyfish" which are large and have a broad, round, flattish body. The light from a moon jelly appears bluish. I've seen them over halfway up the Potomac, too. But much more common in the lower river and out in the bay. Comb Jellyfish also glow, such as the sea walnut, which, when disturbed, flashes a green light along its combs.
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I saw a TON of sawgrass in the Bay above Turkey Point on sunday that must have been blown loose from the bottom on Saturday.
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I saw a TON of sawgrass in the Bay above Turkey Point on sunday that must have been blown loose from the bottom on Saturday.
On the Elk River side or Susquehana side of Turkey Point? (or both). I think it grows near brackish water.
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Sap,
Don't you work in a Nuke Plant or something :-)

Coincidence? I DON"T THINK SO!
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