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A Glowing Experience

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On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 6:06PM | By: John Paeno

Summer in Pine Island Sound is an exercise in awe inspiring natural experiences. To start with let me tell you about my 4th of July week. Each morning I paddled out into the back waters and was rewarded with drag screaming entertainment with 26” to 32” redfish.  

While out in Burges Bay I cast into the trees and watched as a wake chased down my plastic artificial. In only about 18” of water there was an explosion as the fish went for the bait and ripping drag. After about ten minutes I boated a beautiful 31” redfish. On the fourth I decided to go for a paddle and watch fireworks at night. I paddled out about 8pm as the sun set. It had rained all day and a splendid rainbow arched the sky above me. As the sun sank and dusk came upon me, I could see fireworks and hear their explosions all around me. The water was still and reflected the fireworks in its surface.

As the darkness grew I started to paddle and noticed the water. During some summers the waters around Pine Island get a micro organism that gives off a ghostly green glow when stimulated. This is one of those summers. As my paddle hit the water, eerie other worldly green swirls would appear in the black surface of the water. Drops off my paddle erupted on the water surface like green florescent paint being dropped on a black surface.

I brought my rod with me and would cast off into the darkness and see the phosphorescent splash in the distance as my bait hit the water. Haunting glowing green streaks would take off in all direction as fish detected my kayak and quickly retreated. As the fireworks subsided and I started paddling back to the ramp I could watch in fascination the streams of water from my wake in the other world glow of green. I was so captivated by this experience that the fireworks took second fiddle to nature. Sure man could mix some saltpeter and sulfur and make a pretty colorful explosion by adding fire. But nature’s fireworks radiated no heat and you can reach out and make it just by sticking your hand in the water.

I could see mullet jumping as glowing green explosions across the black surface of the water. This so inspired me that I am offering “Glow in the Dark Adventures” for as long as the natural phenomenon occurs (weather permitting). While paddling in these surreal green glowing waters I find myself going back in time and thinking about the early people who experienced this phenomenon and it is no wonder to me that they thought of so many and colorful supernatural explanations for everything. Indeed, watching these waters at night I could imagine the streaks and explosions as spirits visiting this world. It certainly feels strange enough.

Many ancient cultures believed that animal totems would take your spirit to the next world and watching this display of natural light I felt as the animal world could be much different than what we normally experience. This is truly an experience that few people have had and one I will treasure. The Indians of Cuba once believed that Florida was the sacred land of the Fountain of Youth. Indeed, the water here could have been sacred to these people at times like this.

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