Sep 13, 2023 - Things to Do

How to catch the bioluminescent waves in San Diego

A surfer rides a wave at night that's glowing bright blue from bioluminescent plankton.

A surfer rides a wave near Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Photo: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego

Electric blue waves are back on the San Diego coast — for at least a couple of weeks.

What's happening: The glowing, crashing waves are visible at night during red tides, formed by a bloom of millions of bioluminescent plankton that release a flash of light when they're disturbed.

Where to see it: Beachgoers have reported seeing the bright, luminous waters at La Jolla Shores, Encinitas, Del Mar, Point Loma, Sunset Cliffs, Oceanside, Tamarack, Carlsbad and Blacks beaches.

  • Be smart: The recent waning crescent moon reduces the amount of reflected light that hits the ocean at night, making the glow more visible, according to the Union-Tribune.

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