At Playa Tamales near Puntarenas, Costa Rica, the waves glow at night. Not by any lights or any help from modern technology. Natural algae that produce dinoflagellate luciferin live in the water and light up when provoked. And my crazy yoga instructor friend Leslie Bishop Hunter was happily provoking them.
"Take off your clothes!" she screamed into the darkness. I couldn't make out where she was, only that her voice was coming from my left, near the sound of the waves.
There was hardly any moonlight to guide my path towards the waves and Leslie’s happy screams. Only the glow of the bioluminescence in the crashing waves, a spectacular light show of glowing plankton that lit up the waves in middle of this otherwise dark night.
The bluish green glow of the waves was the only thing that I could see. That and the phosphorescent glow of the water surrounding Leslie's aura.
I wanted to go in, but I left my swimsuit in my room at the nearby Blue Osa Yoga Sanctuary and Spa and I didn't want the saltwater to damage the dyes on my polka-dotted beach dress.
The glowing waves still beckoned.
I tread carefully over the pebbled beach towards Leslie's splashes. I didn't want my feet crushing any nocturnal beach creatures and any of the varieties of crab that scuttled along the shore.
From where I was, I could see Leslie making angel wings with her arms in the water. Her waving arms and kicking legs surrounded with a confetti of lit algae. I too wanted to bask in the splendor of the provoked phytoplankton. After a short internal debate over whether I should join her happiness, I decided.
Off came my dress and I ran happily over the pebbled beach into the waters of the Osa Peninsula and let myself be surrounded by the midnight glow of the bioluminescence algae.