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Trinidad and Tobago’s rarest attraction

Trinidad and Tobago’s rarest attraction

Posted by Shanelle Weir on May 01, 2014

One of Trinidad and Tobago’s rarest attractions, the eerie blue bioluminescence glow of the Ortoire River in Mayaro, on Trinidad’s southeast coast, occurs only for a few days every decade and then, just as suddenly it manifests, the phenomena is gone.

The glow, a beautiful blue, is said to be the result of the bloom of bioluminescent organisms in the river, for the thousands who have over the past month lined up to immerse themselves in its splendor, it is nothing short of a miracle.

To view the phenomena, travelers must follow the Cedar Grove Road, which starts near the Mafeking Bridge in South Trinidad, because the glow is only visible in a particular location and not the entire 30 miles of the river’s lazy, opaque flow.

Witnesses to the nocturnal show have described it as thousands of blinking points of pale blue lights in the water. Any disturbance on the water, from the splash of a swimmer and the flick of a fish tail to the lapping of the water against the muddy river bank, is cause for an explosion of luminous blue sparks.

For hundreds of years this phenomenon has remained secret, known only by the villagers who live near the river where it occurs. This year, the fleeting occurrence has attracted hundreds of incredulous locals and visitors to the site each night, many spending hours marveling at its beauty, leaving in daylight tired and humbled by the sight.

The Ortoire’s glow is attributed to light emitted as a result of a chemical reaction in single cell organisms called dinoflagellates (pryodinium bahamene), a type of plankton that have flourished along parts of the Ortoire as a result of a favorable mix of cold salt water flowing upriver from the sea during the high tide and the warmer fresh water from the interior.

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