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Bioluminescent Plankton in Maldives

When you cruise around the Maldives at night, you can reveal a colony of glowing plankton

Best time: June–October

Bioluminescent Plankton
Bioluminescent Plankton

At the first sight, the neon blue balls washing up the shores might be confused with some alien form of life which is trying to invade the Maldives at night. Someone might think there was a flood in the glowworm caves in New Zealand and now the worms are freely floating the waves. In reality, these "diodes" are glowing plankton. The bright blue light is the result of a natural chemical reaction which occurs when plankton is disturbed with oxygen. Plankton is abundant in the Indian ocean and particularly around the islands in the period between mid-summer and winter.

One of the most popular places to observe such a fantastic spectacle is Vaadloo island found in the Raa Atoll, and the high season is between June and October. All you need to do is simply to stir up the water with your feet, and if plankton is there, it will immediately splash with gorgeous blue lights. However, you will rarely see such a picture close to the beach, it's much more likely to happen when cruising offshore - breaking waves provided by a floating ship will light up any tiny organisms.

Practical info

When can bioluminescent plankton be seen in the Maldives?

One can see bioluminescent plankton along the Maldives between June and October. During this period, the Indian Ocean has a high abundance of plankton making it a perfect opportunity to witness the phenomena. Show more

Which location is famous for witnessing bioluminescent plankton in the Maldives?

Vaadloo island, Raa Atoll is one of the most popular places to enjoy bioluminescent plankton in the Maldives. It is recommended to travel a little offshore as there are fewer chances of observing them from the beach or at the shore. Show more

What causes plankton to glow in a neon blue color?

When plankton is agitated with oxygen or any other disturbance, they have a chemical reaction that causes them to glow in a vibrant blue color, which is known as bioluminescent plankton. Show more

When is the best time to witness bioluminescent plankton?

The months between mid-summer and winter offer the highest chance to observe bioluminescent plankton in the Maldives. During this period, the population of plankton tends to be at its peak. Show more

Is it possible to see glowing plankton from the shore in the Maldives?

It is unlikely as the best way to witness glowing plankton is to go offshore, as breaking waves from boats can stimulate them lighting up the plankton which provides a fantastic show to witness. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin