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"Dark Moon" Paddle Safari on the Luminous Lagoon
(The Moon Wasn't Glowing, but We Were!)


Let me tell you a story: It was a dark, dark night…


google earth view of silver sands to the luminous lagoon
It's about 8 miles from Silver Sands to the Luminous Lagoon.


(This story was contributed by Geoff Gibson, July 2018.)


On a “Dark Moon” night, we launched six paddleboards, and two kayaks onto the bioluminescent bay, known as the Luminous Lagoon, in Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica. I have done a lot of paddling, but never at night, and never on a body of water that interacted with you as you traversed it. We no sooner got the flotilla in the water than people were exclaiming, “Your fin is leaving a trail”!! 

lal on the luminous lagoon


Indeed, our paths were marked by trails of phosphorescence, each paddle stroke producing a splash of bioluminescent light. 


Breaking many of the rules of navigation I have scrupulously followed at night on various bodies of water, we were running almost dark, showing a single light on the lead paddle board. At the head was our guide and friend, long time Jamaican waterman, Bryan Smythe ( aka Bryan Kiteboarder). We all clustered near him like baby ducks on their first outing with their mother. Traffic on the lagoon was minimal, so the risk of collision with a motor vessel was low. But there are always some tourist boats out experiencing the phenomenon. We stayed close to Bryan's light, a surreal and unwieldy flock making our way through a night, the likes of which none any of us had ever experienced before.


Some one commented it was like being in the movie Avatar -  we found ourselves in a brand new world. Fish would literally streak by, the bigger ones leaving beautiful luminescent contrails behind them. The intensity of your paddle stroke was indicated by the amount of glow you created. 


We stopped out in the middle of the bay and played like children, splashing each other (the bioluminescence would temporarily adhere to your body and your board). Some of us swam, producing large glowing wakes. It was eerily beautiful and graceful to be standing on a board, paddling beneath  twinkling stars made brighter by the Moon’s absence, while constellations of light were born and died  beneath our feet.


All too soon, it was time to point our boards towards shore. We exited the bay, laughing and full of the joy of a unique and beautiful experience shared with friends.


The End


Nuts & Bolts:

  • Geoff and his friends stayed at Endless Summer Villa.
  • Bryan, a licensed lifeguard, led the Paddleboard & Kayak Safari to the Luminous Lagoon at Falmouth, which is only about eight miles from Silver Sands.
  • DJ, the Houseman at Endless Summer, and Bryan, also a paddleboard instructor, loaded their vans with all the equipment.
  • Do not try this without an experienced guide like Bryan who knows the Lagoon well.
  • Remember, it is very very dark on Dark Moon nights!


Sorry, there are no photos as none of the adventurers were carrying sophisticated cameras. Below is a Youtube Video of some people having fun in the Luminous Lagoon. The bioluminescence is very dramatic in the video.


luminous lagoon
The Luminous Lagoon


Youtube Video:

Would you like to do this? Contact our guide: Contact Bryan Smythe.