Incredible Videos Show Neon Glowing Wave Phenomenon On California Beaches

By Rebekah Gonzalez

September 10, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

The ocean is glowing with electric neon waves again and one photographer has made it his mission to track the amazing phenomenon.

Torrance photographer Patrick Coyne has scouted the sea for these occurrences at least 50 times just this year.

“We’ve come to the conclusion, it happens way more often than we realize,” Coyne told the Southern California News Group. “Since we’ve been checking every other week, we can make that assumption now. But it all can depend on condition and weather.”

Coyne has scored some of his best footage of the sea's neon light show at Crystal Cove and Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach.

He first encountered the bioluminescence bloom in 2018 and again in 2019 in Malibu.

According to ABC7, this breathtaking semi-regular occurrence happens when "tiny organisms such as plankton get stirred up and give off this light."

But this year, it's been showing up more than usual.

“Although we don’t understand all the factors that contribute to its abundance, we believe that it is related to upwelling, which occurs when winds bring up nutrient-rich, deeper waters to promote the growth of phytoplankton,” Michael Latz, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, told the News Group in an email. “The relaxation from upwelling conditions is thought to be one of the factors that promotes the growth of Lingulodinium.”

“When you’re staring at glowing blue water, it never gets old,” Coyne said. “The time goes fast, you forget you’re there for hours on end. It's trying different pictures. I’ve been able to catch it a lot over the last year and a half. Trying new things out, new angles, shots and video is super fun.”

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