The 10 Coolest Places to Swim
1. Bioluminescent Bay
Located in Puerto Rico, on Vieques Island, there is a shallow body of water with a narrow inlet known as Mosquito Bay. In each gallon of the bay there are 720,000 phosphorescent single-celled organisms that glow when they are agitated. It is a defense mechanism — the glowing is designed to daze whatever predator is bothering the tiny dinoflagellates. All together the bay, on a moonless night, will produce more than enough light to read. Swimming in Mosquito Bay will cause your limbs to be bathed in blue-green light. If you stop moving the light will dim, and eventually disappear completely, but each time you twitch it begins anew. Every time your kayak moves it too will be illuminated. It’s also easy to spot larger creatures; when manta rays or large jellies enter the mangrove swamps gentle rings of light form around them. If you scoop up a handful of the water you can watch individual glowing plankton roll down your arms and hands. And the salinity of the water, like the Dead Sea below, is high enough you can float sitting upright. Photographing Biobay isn’t easy, so there aren’t many high quality pictures of it, but enjoy the ones we found below.
2. Jellyfish Lake
12,000 to 15,000 years ago one of the limestone rock islands in the nation of Palau sealed itself off from the ocean and became a marine lake. A few jellyfish were sealed inside, and with virtually no predators, they began multiplying and evolving. Today more than 10 million jellyfish inhabit Ongeim’l Tketau, known as Jellyfish Lake to tourists. Their sting became evolutionarily useless, and has been lost over time, to the point that the jellies are completely harmless to swim with. Swimming in Jellyfish lake, surrounded by a translucent sea of rhythmically pulsing creatures, is known to be unbelievably serene. The jellies, varying in size from basketballs to blackberries, slowly undulate as they follow the path of the sun across the surface of the lake.