Southern California Beaches Present: The Bioluminescent Red Tide!

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Video Filmed by Franz Krachtus, Sept. 2011

Here in San Diego, Ca., we are often reminded that the most spectacular and awe-inspiring entertainment comes from Mother Earth herself. For a limited time – doing her best Vegas impression on Southern California beaches from Point Loma to Huntington Beach – the luminous, the electric, the dazzling…  Lingulodinium polyedrum!

During the day we simply call her “The Red Tide” however, by either moniker she is a show-stopping happening not to be missed. Every so often these tiny, miniscule algae “bloom” by the billions, giving the ocean a red sheen by day – hence the name “red tide”.

At night, the bioluminescent magic show (technically science show, however I’m sticking with the Vegas metaphor) begins as each cell gives off a flash of neon-blue light when jostled about. This means every wave, every outline of a fish, and every footstep on the sand glows like an unbelievable scene from ‘Avatar.’ A red tide is, literally, phenomenal.

Red Tide Bioluminescence. Photo courtesy of Kevin Baird.

For more info (but far fewer Vegas metaphors) on the current red tide occurring on San Diego and Orange County beaches, here is a great FAQ on the red tide from Scripps Professor Dr. Peter Franks that is chock full of fun suggestions too. (I think he enjoys his job.)

Please email if you have taken any pictures or video and would like us to post them!

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About Maren

San Diego raised and New York City educated, I trained as a classical singer before switching to tourism marketing. Now I love telling the world about San Diego's diverse offerings, from live music to live uni. As a friend recently told me, "tough job."

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

For me, a perfect day always involves something I haven't done before. And even though I grew up  in San Diego, there is SO much to do I can usually find a way to make any day ideal. Next on the list is paragliding at Torrey Pines. I also need to meet more people with boats. Anyone?

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

I am a sucker for street fairs, county fairs, music festivals and block parties. The weather is always nice, the food is always sinful and the people are always interesting. I've been to the San Diego County Fair 3 times already!!!

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Tacos. Why does this question not include tacos? Fish tacos, carne asada, carnitas, shrimp, lobster, chorizo, vegetarian- I don't care. Put it in a corn tortilla and give it to me. Or any creation by the fabulous Jason Knibb over at 9-10 Restaurant in La Jolla.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

Confession: I don't buy! I Pandora. I love everything from Tuvan throat singing to Lady Gaga. But seriously, Mahler's 2nd Symphony. Listen to it. Then we can talk.

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