How to See Blue Bioluminescent Waves Are on San Diego Beaches -

How to See Blue Bioluminescent Waves Are on San Diego Beaches

Blue bioluminescent waves are back in San Diego County, and researchers are on the case of why they appear to be getting more common.

If you’re unfamiliar, San Diego beaches periodically see bioluminescent waves that glow blue in the surf or when agitated. The bioluminescence is caused by blooms of tiny marine algae — a phenomenon known as a red tide.

Bioluminescence in San Diego is now much more common than it used to be, according to researchers at the La Jolla-based Scripps Institute of Technology.

Bioluminescence in Orange County, which also sees red tides.

Scientist Erik Jepsen told CBS 8 that bioluminescent waves used to occur maybe once every three years. Now, bioluminescence seemingly happens three to four times annually. It isn’t clear why this is occurring, but the fact that the oceans are changing due to human activity and climate change is a likely culprit.

Because of that, it’s been much easier to spot bioluminescent waves at the best San Diego beaches. During the latest red tide, reports indicate glowing blue waves everywhere from Mission Beach to Oceanside.

However, actually seeing the waves may be more difficult than it appears. The kind of red tides that cause bioluminescence are highly mobile and hard to predict. Because of that, seeing glowing blue waves in the area comes down to environmental conditions, time of day, and luck.

Tips to See Blue Bioluminescent Waves in San Diego

With that in mind, here are some tip to make your blue wave hunt much more successful.

  • Red tides generally happen during early spring or late summer in San Diego.
  • A strong surf can make the bioluminescent waves much more visible — so keep an eye on that surf report.
  • You’ll want to wait until it gets dark enough for the bioluminescence to really shine. At least two hours after sunset is a good bet.
  • The moon phase plays a part, too. Try to go when the moon is darker, such as during a waning crescent phase or new moon.