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Vieques Bio-Bay

BIOLUMINESCENCE

 

 

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biobay view

 

 

Vieques sports the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. If there is something you must do during your vacation in Isla de Vieques is to visit the bio-bay. Make sure you hire a licensed operator. There are several illegal operators around the bay. Licensed ones are trained and care about protecting the bay for our children in the future. Current laws forbid a licensed operator from letting a tourist enter the bio-bay waters. This is so to protect the bay from pesticides, sun blockers and other chemicals tourists use on their skin that are dangerous to the bay. Visit by kayak, electric boat or fisherman's boat but do not skip this natural wonder. Do not miss a trip to the bio-bay while in Isla de Vieques.

The 'Bahia Fosforescente' (Bioluminescent Bay) at Puerto Mosquito should be listed as the eighth natural wonder of the world. The microscopic organism responsible for the glow in the water when agitated is a protozoan of the family dinoflagellata, a unicellular organism with two flagella that allow it to move through the water. The most common protozoan in Puerto Mosquito's waters in the Pyrodinium bahamense.

Dindin's

Bioluminescence is a natural defense system. When the protozoans are being attacked, the movement in the water excites them resulting in a chemical reaction that produces light. The light attracts bigger predators that feed on the smaller creatures that eat the protozoans.

 

The light is produced when a chemical stored within the cell, luciferin, is combined with oxygen resulting in the release of energy in the form of pure light. An internal clock in these organisms controls the production and storage of luciferin. There is very little concentration of luciferin within the cell during the daylight hours, thus little light is generated even if you could place them in the dark. The accumulation of the chemical peaks at night, and this is when the lights become more intense.

 

Several physical features of the Bay allow it's bioluminescence. One is the shallowness of the waters, the other is the presence of mangrove trees at the shores. Decomposing mangrove roots promote the concentration of bacteria in the water. These bacteria produce vitamin B12 which is an essential nutrient to the protozoan.

 

The Bay has a narrow exit to the sea allowing for the organisms to concentrate in its shallow refuge. It is the incredible concentration of these organisms what makes Vieques so unique.

Here are a couple of articles about experiencing the Biobay:
Geotimes November 2006.
Washington Post September 2011

  These are certified Tour Operators for the Bio-Bay

  • Abe's Snorkeling Abe on his tours "We offer guided snorkeling tours, 2 different types of BioBay Tours: Eco tours, and Custom Tours, 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. We are the most diversified kayak company in Vieques and the most children friendly. We have sit on top very stable kayaks. Our office phone number for reservations is 787-741-2134 ."

     

  • Bieque Eco Trips Mountain bike, snorkeling, beach camping, paddle boarding class & tour, or kayaking on the beach, bay, lagoons, and mangrove. Call 787 922-2701.
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  • Black Beard Sports Diving, Biking, Camping in Vieques. Scuba tours and lessons. Bicycle and snorkel rental. Beach accessories and Internel access. PADI certified. 787 741-1892.

     

  • Dindin's Biobay by Boat or Kayak

    Dindin's
    Dindin is the only Biobay operator that offers transportation to and from your hotel to the biobay.

    Offers tours 7 days a week. Call 787-448-5931 or 787-741-2574 See their site.

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  • Island Adventures - electric boat tours of the bio-bay. Adults $40, Children 12 and under $20. Call 787 741-0720  for reservations.

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  • Travesias Isleñas Yaureibo Biobay, snorkeling, kayaking, island, hiking, walking, Playa Negra (Black Sand Beach), Esperanza, Cayo Afuera and all day kayak tours. The ALL DAY KAYAK TOURS Include: Snorkeling, Mangroves & BioBay. On this tour a light snack, beverage & water are provided, 5 person minimum. Endorsed by Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Licensed & Insured. Contact Néstor Guishard 787-447-4104 or 939-630-1267.

Click here for Charters in Vieques and tours to other beaches

Updated Sept 7, 2014

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