Unspoken Bucket List – The Glow

Update 2019/03/17: Replaced photos

I don’t talk about it much, and perhaps I should, but like so many other people, I have a bucket list. For a long time, before the term “Bucket List” even became popular, I called it “The List of Things I Want To See Before I Die.” Morbid, right? “Bucket List” is a much better term, and in my case, it’s very short — all of 3 items:

1) See an Aurora (Borealis, aka Northern Lights)
2) See a volcano
3) See a tornado

I scratched #2 off my list in 2001 on a trip to California, and #1 off the list in 2004-ish before I had a decent camera (grrrrr). I almost got to cross #3 off the list on the same trip as #2, but the storm was a little too far south. Some would say, “Not south enough!” but I never said I wanted to be caught in a tornado, I just want to see one, preferably without danger. A funnel cloud would do, but my absolute dream would be to see a water spout. Like, omg, water spouts.

So, these are my 3 bucket list items, and even though I made that list when I was in my teens, I never added anything to it. Not really sure why. But there has been this hidden, unspoken bucket list in my head that I’ve never told to anyone. I suppose the 3-item bucket list was the pinnacle of things I wanted to see, but there were a lot of other things I’ve wanted to see, and some I’ve already crossed off.

Tonight I got to cross off another one: to see bioluminescent algae.

I got a call from my mother in law that she’d seen on Facebook that there was bioluminescent algae in the water just a bit down the road from where I live. Hubby and I went to go check it out and apparently the entire island knew about it! The traffic was crazy, cars parked on the side of the road, people crossing the street. 10:30 at night and all these people came out to see the glowing algae. It was drizzling a bit with very strong winds, and people were tossing rocks in the water to see the glow. Sure enough, it was there.

Hubby and I had seen something similar to this before. Back when I lived in Virginia and before-he-was-Hubby was visiting, we went swimming at night at the little marina near my house, and thousands of tiny bioluminescent comb jellies were floating in the water, lighting up when we swept our arms near them. Hubby and I kissed in water lit up by comb jellies.

Because those were comb jellies and tonight we saw algae, I consider them two separate bucket list items.

Photo by Kevin Wolf
Photo by Kevin Wolf

The water softly glowed electric blue whenever the water was disturbed enough. We watched for a while on the inner side and eventually Hubby said we should cross the road to look at the water that opens out to the ocean, and that’s when the real fun began. The wind was so strong it was kicking up waves, waves that peaked electric blue. Sometimes it was so bright it was almost white. Eventually the rain picked up and I had to hide the camera under my arm to shield it from the rain that was blowing in almost sideways.

I ended up getting a few photos, and oddly enough the photo viewing program I have (XnView, it’s the absolute BEST) shows the blue glow, but Photoshop and Lightroom don’t. What up, Adobe? Also, what up, Corel? You know, since Paint Shop Pro doesn’t show the glow either. So, since I don’t have software to process the raw photos properly and enhance the blue so you can actually SEE it fairly well, I don’t have a photo to show. I’m hoooooooooping that the algae stays around a while so I can go back out tomorrow and try a different camera as well as a different lens.

I know the algae is a bad thing. I mean, we’re up north. We don’t get this kind of thing here, which is precisely why locals are in a tither over it. I can’t say I don’t care, because I actually do care about the water’s ecosystem, and I know this is a bad thing and a result of the abnormally hot summer we’ve had here. But, I can’t help it, as it is still something I’ve always wanted to see. So, I’m now soaked to the bone, I have sand on the right side of my face and even in my ear from someone upwind from me tossing sand in the water to activate the algae, and I have photos that are so un-spectacular I can’t show them to anyone. But, I got to cross another item off my bucket list, and I’m happy.