Magnificent blue glow lights up the southern coast of Wales

South Wales-based photographer Alyn Wallace witnessed a magical glow of royal blue transcend upon the sea at Three Cliffs Bay near Swansea.

The Breacon Beacons-based landscape and astronomy photographer captured the scene on the night of 18 June, during the waning moon phase.

Alyn Wallace described the magical moment as “one of the most incredible experiences” of his life.

The glow that lit Three Cliffs Bay near Swansea that night came from tiny plankton that emit their own light. The bioluminescent plankton are Noctiluca scintillans, also known as sea sparkle.

In daylight the phenomenon presents itself as a ‘red tide’, with water turning a deep red, brown, or orange colour. During the night the plankton glow bright blue when disturbed by waves or currents.

Writing on his Facebook page, Alyn Wallace said: “Every step and splash I made just lit up with an unreal blue glow.

“When I realised it was new moon [approaching] on an extraordinarily hot day as the tide was coming in at night I thought I’d try my chances.

“I could see the blue glow as the waves broke on the shore so I descended the cliffs…It was like being in the film Avatar, every step I made and every splash of the sea just lit up with an incredibly beautiful blue glow.

The photographer added: “Shortly after I took a few shots I stripped off and went for a swim under the stars surrounded by the bioluminescent glow, one of the most magical and surreal experiences of my life.”

Bioluminescence is relatively uncommon on land, but it’s the norm in the sea. Bioluminescence at the surface, visible to the human eye, is a rarer treat, but it has been seen in Wales before.

In 2014, photos of blue bioluminescence at Penmon on the isle of Anglesey went viral. You can see the picture below. Late spring and early summer, when the water is warm, tend to be the most shimmery times for the Welsh coast.

Alyn Wallace was both delighted and honoured to be graced by the phenomenon in the southern part of Wales where he resides. “This is something I’ve always dreamed of seeing,” he said. “It’s known to appear in North Wales in the summer but not so common down south.”

Images: © Alyn Wallace, © Kris Williams (Penmon, North Wales)

Alyn Wallace Photography

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives:

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