Imagine walking on a beach with glittering blue waves hitting the shoreline…You’d say perhaps it is an international location or a scene from a Hollywood movie, where such scenic beauty is in abundance. Well, what if you could experience such beauty here in Mumbai? Yes, you read that right…Our very own Juhu beach which has been in news for all the wrong reasons has been offering a stunning view. Juhu beach has been awash with bright, sparkling blue waves that shimmer at night, thanks to phytoplankton, a type of bioluminescent microbes.
The first report of bioluminescence was reported in 2016 when a few Zoology students of Bhavan’s College experienced this phenomenon when visiting the beach. The students reported the same to Parvish Pandya, who was then the Vice Principal as well as Assistant Professor for Zoology.
Mr. Pandya sheds more light on this beautiful phenomenon. Bioluminescent marine microorganisms can be found across oceans around the world. However, in the case of Juhu beach, the activity is happening in close proximity to the shore and that’s interesting. Explaining the activity further, Pandya says that the primary reason for marine bioluminescence activity is attributed to the dinoflagellates. This phytoplankton is present in water. The constant movement of the sea waves causes mechanical action in the sea, disturbing marine microorganisms. As a result, they discharge blue light. Due to this light released by phytoplankton, the sea waves turn shining blue right before hitting the shore.
Another Naturalist, Shardul Bajikar sheds more light on bioluminescence activity in oceans. He says that generally bioluminescence activity can be witnessed about 500 meters away from the shoreline. However, the tides and ocean currents at times bring along the microbes to the shore and that’s how we witness such blue, shimmering waves close to the coastline.
The bioluminescent activity can be witnessed better when the sky is dark and in absence of high tide. The best time to experience the bioluminescent sea is after 9.30 and before midnight. Walk along the Juhu beach and find a quiet spot on the cement jetty for a surreal experience.