'Magical' Video Shows Dolphins Aglow while Swimming Through Bioluminescent Waves in California

"The bioluminescence off Newport Beach has been out of this world!" said Newport Coastal Adventure

These dolphins were ready for their closeup!

On Wednesday, photographer and videographer Patrick Coyne went out on a night time boat ride in the waters off Newport Beach, California, where bioluminescent waves have been spotted in recent weeks, giving the water a beautiful blue glow. Much to his delight, while on the water, a group of dolphins swam up beside the boat.

“The bioluminescence off Newport Beach has been out of this world!” Newport Coastal Adventure wrote on Facebook, alongside a video taken that night that showed the animals swimming around “as they lit up the night.”

“As soon as the dolphins showed up, I literally shed a tear,” Coyne told the Orange County Registrar.

The beach is currently still open to the public amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, although there are restrictions in place.


Getting the footage of the glowing swimmers was incredibly difficult.

“It’s not something you can just plan,” Coyne told the Orange County Register, noting that the waters weren’t glowing all the time.

“It was showing up in little sections, we would drive the boat a bit, it would be bright and then it would go away,” he explained.
“You can’t really find it, it’s pitch black. We could see it when it would start glowing, there’s no way for us to predict it.”

All in all, Coyne says they were out on the water for hours, and were about to throw in the towel, before spotting the dolphins.
I didn’t think I’d ever see this in my life, to be honest,” he added. “It was truly one of the most magical nights of my life.”

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Local residents first thought to look for glowing waves after spotting a red tide in the area — which occurs when the bioluminescent phytoplankton “population increases to such huge numbers that it discolors the water,” according to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Although not all red tides will result in bioluminescent waves, Southern California waters are known for being home to “dramatic nighttime displays,” the institute added.

This natural phenomenon is often triggered by physical disturbances, which bring the population together, according to the Smithsonian.

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