Bioluminescent waves have been glowing along the Virginia Beach oceanfront since September 16, 2016. The waves have been putting on a nightly show glowing an amazingly bright blue. The glow is due to a bioluminescent organism called dinoflagellates. The planktonic animals have a light creating pigment inside that lights up when interacting with oxygen…just like lightening bugs! The rapid growth or a storm pushing them in causes the density that turns into the light show we are honored to witness.
The full moon on September 16th made the light show even more spectacular. Even stepping on the damp sand would cause a quick flash of brilliant blue underneath your feet. Surfers were out enjoying the waves. Boats were out enjoying the on the water view of such an amazing sight. Even with the effects of Tropical Storm Julia, the bioluminescent could still be seen as of last night. It wasn’t as bright but it was still glowing.
People have been spotting them from Sandbridge to the Northend. Obviously the farther you go away from the resort lights…the more vivid the blue. Sunset til sunrise the blue waves can be seen. There is no way to predict when this will happen again or how long they will stick around. The optimal conditions for this phenomenon is the the early spring and late summer due to the warm water.
The bioluminescence did occur last year in Sandbridge for a very short time.