The Enchanting Bioluminescent Beaches of the Maldives

A phenomenon that periodically causes the pristine shorelines of the Maldives to glow in neon blue, offering the rare chance of witnessing nature in absolute serenity and glamour. Similar to natural wonders such as the auroras, cherry blossoms and the blood falls in Antarctica, the illuminated beaches of the Maldives inspire new heights of enchantment and awe.

Recurrent speckled waves of gentle rekindle the beach with bioluminescence until the break of dawn when the sun’s rays overpower the then faint light of the millions of organisms washed ashore. The pristine Baa Atoll of the Maldives offered us the mesmerizing experience of being in the presence of this incredible phenomenon all the while a large Hawksbill Turtle was laying her eggs just mere 20 – 30 feet away from the shoreline. A true blessing to have been there at that specific island in that particular atoll located in that special archipelago known as the Maldives.

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Why does it glow?

Previously believed to be Phytoplankton that photosynthesize, the glowing organisms that wash up on the shores have been later identified as bioluminescent Ostracod Crustaceans of 0.2 to 0.3 mm in diameter which produce the blue light by the mixing of two chemicals in the presence of oxygen. The process is explained by Professor James Morin at Cornell University NY as the mass mortality of the organisms.


It is near impossible to guarantee sighting this phenomenal act of nature on a specific date or at a specific island. However, in light of past experiences shared by the hundreds of people, it is believed to be occurring mostly during the latter half of the year. Anywhere from August through December in either Kaafu, Alifu, Baa or Raa atoll, the chances of you experiencing this truly enchanting marvel of the Indian Ocean aren’t slim.

7 thoughts on “The Enchanting Bioluminescent Beaches of the Maldives

    • Thank you.
      Yes the phenomena are said to be a result of either a bloom in Phytoplankton (green algae) or Ostracod Crustaceans. While some parts of the world experience it through the algae, recent studies show that the Maldive beaches (during such occurrences) are awash with the Crustaceans.

      Liked by 1 person

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