The Elcie Diaries: From The Eastern Shore To A 'Bioluminescent' Bay | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Filed Under:

The Elcie Diaries: From The Eastern Shore To A 'Bioluminescent' Bay

Play associated audio
A glow from the Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques, near Puerto Rico.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/samblackman/131267878/
A glow from the Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques, near Puerto Rico.

Last fall, Maryland residents Jessica and Richard Johnson left the Eastern Shore on a yearlong sailing expedition with their daughters, Emma and Molly.

Since then, they've traveled thousands of miles down the Atlantic Coast and into the Caribbean. And they've seen some remarkable sites, including a bay whose waters are famous for a one-of-a-kind, glowing bioluminescence.

"Elcie is anchored on the south coast of Vieques," says Jessica Johnson. "It's an island that belongs to Puerto Rico, and it's not too far east of the main island of Puerto Rico."

Vieques is home to several "bioluminescent bays," which light up at night because of the existence of tiny half-plant, half-animal organisms known as bioluminescent dinoflagellates. When you touch the surface with your hand or a kayak paddle, Johnson says, the water lights up with flashes of light.

Johnson says visitors are prohibited from using boats with gas engines in the bioluminescent bay because they can be harmful to the organisms that live there. That means visitors are surrounded instead by the sounds of frogs in the nearby woods, and by a particularly unusual form of natural light.

"Apparently the bay here is the brightest one in the world, and apparently it's a really good time to be here and see the bioluminescence, because yesterday was the new moon, so today it's almost completely dark," she says.

Visiting the bay had a big impact on the Johnsons' daughters. "This is probably one of the most amazing things I've ever seen," says Emma, 12.


[Music: "Mothersbaugh's Canon" by Mark Mothersbaugh from The Royal Tenenbaums / "I've Got the World on a String" by Tal Farlow Quartet from Cookin' On All Burners]

NPR

An Updated 'Annie' And The Tradition Of Nontraditional Casting

As an African-American Annie arrives on movie screens, critic Bob Mondello looks at other cross-cultural reinventions, from Pearl Bailey's Dolly to the Americanization of Carmen as Carmen Jones.
NPR

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has lead to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.
WAMU 88.5

Hogan Cabinet Appointments Announced In Annapolis

Maryland governor-elect Larry Hogan will announce some of his cabinet appointments today, but there's no early indication which positions he will fill.

NPR

Major Movie Theater Chains Drop 'The Interview' After Threats

Audie Cornish talks with LA Times Hollywood Editor Joe Bel Bruno about the latest surrounding hacker threats to Sony and theaters showing the film, The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.