A few nights ago we floated atop one of the most spectacular light shows that nature has to offer, and one of the most amazing events we’ve experienced in our entire lives. As we rowed back to Selkie from a neighboring boat, bellies full of cold Pacifico beer and fresh Barracuda, we saw that our oar strokes were leaving terrific whirls of phosphorescence. We didn’t think too much of it, because we’ve been spoiled living on the boat, and we get to experience great phosphorescence almost every night. This night would prove different.
As we lay down to sleep in the cockpit, we kept hearing breath and splash from dolphins and sea lions, many dozens of them, all around the boat. This drives Wylie crazy, and he’ll jump out of bed, race up to the foredeck and scope things out for us. After a few laps around the boat, we sat up to see how close they were and we saw the scene. Millions of baitfish filled the bay where we lay at anchor, and a feeding frenzy was in full effect. We never saw a fish, just the glowing outlines as they raced around, fleeing and hunting.
We would hang our heads over the rail, and beneath the boat thousands of individual glowing streaks would light the water. We would look out over the bay and hundreds of yards away half the bay would be literally glowing green with the motion of predation. The sound of dolphins and sea lions rising and feeding would draw our attention, and we’d see huge bodies of light, devastatingly fast, ripping through the glowing mass of baitfish.
As I write, I understand that my words fail me in describing such a purely visual scene, a pitch black curtain imposed with vicious, hungry, and ecstatic yellow light, and fearful, panicked, confused yellow light. It all swam with a terrible speed.
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