The phosphorescent display has captured the attention of locals in southern California, with many emerging from shelter-in-place restrictions to catch a glimpse of the surreal scenery.
The event occurs every few years along the coast of southern California, though locals say this year’s sea sparkle is especially vibrant, possibly related to historic rains that soaked the region and generated algal bloom.
Bioluminescent phytoplankton give the surf an electric blue glow. However, sometimes, the neon blue appearance can be caused by algae in the water.
Scientists believe bioluminescence may also be a form of defense for the life-forms.
For some, this year’s light show was especially meaningful, coming just as beaches began to reopen after an almost month-long closure due to coronavirus.
One photographer off the coast of Newport Beach, where crowds in recent weeks have protested against closures, recorded a dolphin jetting through bioluminescence like a sea spectre.