Watch: Luminous Blue Waves Crash Into Monterey Bay

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Bioluminescent waves, as captured this week by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (YouTube)

Despite the doom and gloom 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered for, nature has been making some pretty consistent attempts to cheer us up these last few months. First came the NEOWISE comet and the Perseid meteor shower, and now Monterey Bay is putting on a show thanks to glowing plankton.

It's prettier than it sounds.

The gorgeous blue bioluminescence on the shoreline is the result of dinoflagellates under the water letting off tiny flashes—a defense mechanism from predators. To the human eye, the glow looks like a bright white, but cameras are better able to catch the blues in all their glory, especially if using a setting with a longer exposure.

The bioluminescence first started last weekend, as evidenced by this astonishing photo taken during the lightning storm.


The shoreline glow has been on and off ever since, depending on the conditions. The Monterey Bay Aquarium advises that there is no way of knowing how long the glowing waves will last because "wind and waves and currents could soon dissipate the bloom, returning the beaches to their regular slumber."

Catch them while you can.