Mystery Photo Revealed & A Favorite Memory

Mystery Photo Revealed & A Favorite Memory

Okay, I got really hung up with life lately. Sorry! I’m very late with this post!

It’s fluorite!

Yes indeedie, it is!

Fluorite “fluoresces” like a boss under a black (UV) light.

Other fluorescent rocks and minerals include: agate, amber, calcite, gypsum, opal, quartz, ruby, and talc.

Fluorescent materials actually absorb light and re-emit it for us to enjoy.

This is different than bioluminescence in which a living organism actually produces light. Most people recall memories of fireflies when you talk about bioluminescence. I have had some lovely firefly experiences, but that isn’t the first thing I think of when I think of bioluminescence.

The first thing I think of is plankton!

Not Spongebob’s nemesis, but the little bitty flora and fauna spanning the surface waters of our oceans.

My family and I were sailing at night off the coast of California when I had my first experience with bioluminescent plankton. My dad was on night watch, and Mom and I had tucked into our rooms for some rest. I’d woken up in the middle of the night, left all the lights off in the bathroom, went “tinkle”, and flushed the toilet with sea water. When you’re out on the ocean you don’t want to waste fresh water on things like flushing the toilet.

Imagine my half-dazed-midnight-potty-run shock when I saw a bunch of glow-in-the-dark specks swirling down the toilet!

My first thought was that there might have been some kind of chemical leak in the pipelines. Hey, I was tired, and I didn’t know that much about these kinds of things at the time.

I climbed up to the cockpit to tell Dad about the “glowy stuff” in the toilet when I saw the same “glowy stuff” blanketing the water near our boat. It was so amazingly gorgeous! Dad had been paying more attention to steering than the water near the boat and hadn’t noticed it – when I pointed it out we made the connection about flushing with sea water.

So, imagine this: out in the pitch dark on the Pacific Ocean with only the steaming lights on the sailboat. The sky is lit up with billions of stars, a brilliant moon, and an arm of our Milky Way streaking across the sky. The water is smooth with small gentle waves without any crests – not only is it reflecting that gorgeous sky but it’s filled with billions of tiny plankton all swirling in the water and glowing on their own.

Now, that’s enough to take a person’s breath away by itself, but then I noticed the dolphins. Yes, the dolphins came up and swam alongside either side of the boat. This is a fairly common behavior for dolphins in the area, but it just made the whole thing a completely stunning experience.

I hurried below deck, woke my mom up, and we all sat in the cockpit watching the dolphins for awhile.

Fireflies are lovely, but my opinion is that it’s all about the plankton.

Alright folks – hopefully I will be back with more posts in the near future. Until then, have a cookie for me, and laugh about something ridiculous.


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