Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Blue Light Adventure...

The 'Blue Light Night Snorkeling' experience is a one-of-a-kind trip at Gili Lankanfushi: Completely different from any other snorkel trip you will go on!

Don your wetsuit as the sun sets in front of the Marine Sports Centre, make yourself comfortable, and join our short briefing, showing you some of the wonders that you are about to see. As the sky changes from brilliant orange to a deep purple and the first stars begin to wink, you kit up with CSI-esque hand strapped torches and yellow mask filters, and step onto the pontoon boat that awaits you. You are whisked off to our One Palm Island where the blue light adventure begins...

The excitement of searching for fish and other critters in the darkness with your beam of white light is exhilarating in itself, where you will notice plenty of things that you wouldn't spot in the day time. The experience is taken to the next level though when you switch your torch to the special blue light setting and pull your mask filter down...
The corals glow in front of you in neon green whilst everything else remains dark. Looking closely you can spot bright yellows and reds woven into the shades of green. Everywhere you shine your torch you see the bright fluorescence and you notice how alive the reef really is. Even shining your torch to the sand picks up the tiny sand anemones that are so intricate and transparent that you would never see them without the fluorescence. One guest likened it to searching for emeralds as he swam around between the reefs!

The phenomenon you are witnessing is something called coral fluorescence. A relatively new discovery, what we see under the blue light are the effects of excited 'Green Fluorescent Proteins' within the coral animals.The corals aren't glowing on their own like glowworms & fireflies are able to, but the blue wavelengths of light given off by the torch are being absorbed and re-emitted as a different wavelength which are the fluorescent colours that we see. The yellow mask filter is used to block out any reflected blue rays and enhance the light show even more. It really is a spectacular sight!

The incredible thing about coral fluorescence is how little is actually known about it. Nobody quite knows why the corals fluoresce as they do or what the reason is for these special proteins? Theories include: The fluorescent proteins could be acting as a sunscreen, absorbing UV light thereby protecting the coral tissue from damage; the corals might be using their fluorescence to attract prey towards their tentacles, or to deter coral larvae from settling on existing living corals. New evidence from the Red Sea suggests corals emitting red florescence may be converting short wavelength UV rays into red photons with longer wavelengths which symbiotic algae can turn into energy more effectively.

We actively invite our guests, and you, to get thinking about the reasons for this incredible phenomenon and we constantly get some really interesting suggestions! Keep on guessing!

Regardless of its purpose, the fluorescence transforms the night snorkel into an extraordinary adventure which is quickly becoming one of our most popular excursions! Come and join us!!

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