Sunset 'Til Dark Bioluminescence Tour
“...it is not the property of fire alone to give light; ...small drops of the water, struck off by the motion of the oars in rowing, seem sparkling and luminous.”
— Francis Bacon, 1605
One thing's for certain... Mendocino is short on “happening” after-dark activities! For a completely different night time experience we recommend an after dark paddle up Big River in our latest 9 person, super stable outrigger. Father and son team Rick and Blayke Hemmings, will expertly guide you 4.5 miles upriver and back as the the night sky grows darker, while using GPS technology to navigate. Rick has managed Catch a Canoe for over 20 years and is intimately familier with Big River, both Rick and Blayke are expert paddlers and will ensure your trip is both safe and enjoyable.
Bioluminescence is a unique part of paddling on Big River during the summer months. The soft visible glow is actually a defense mechanism used by tiny dinoflagellate organisms. When disturbed, a chemical reaction within the organism sends out a brief flash of light. The intensity of the phosphorescence is dependent on ambient light. The darker the night, the more visible it becomes. On a moonless night, it is usually possible to see the bow wake and all paddle strokes awash in tiny firefly like green sparkles. Sometimes it is also possible to see fish darting by underwater as the boat passes overhead. On moonlit nights the bioluminescence becomes dimmer, the moon then becomes the star attraction, casting a beautiful soft glow on the water and surrounding hillsides.
“We gather on the dock at sunset. Big River glows with the last rays of reflected sunlight as our paddle takes us silently upriver. The dusk sinks slowly into darkness, hailed by the last calls of resident waterfowl. The stillness of the impending night takes our breath away. Focusing on the water sliding off our paddles, a soft green glow appears, flashing just underneath the water's surface.”