These amazing electric blue waves have been lighting up the coast of southern California at night. As strange as it sounds, there's a perfectly good explanation for this occurrence.
A select few lucky bystanders got to see it up-close. A little over a month after shelter-in-place orders were implemented, several beaches in the United States are open to the public again. At one such beach, in Santa Cruz, locals got to see bioluminescent waves.
A magical sight
It's a rare occurrence and doesn't happen every year, but much to Californians' delight, was especially noticeable this year. Thanks to this footage from CBS Los Angeles, we all get to see what it looks like.
This "red tide", as it's called, results from the condensation of microscopic plants named phytoplankton on the surface of the water. During the day, waves take on a reddish hue, and at night, the water becomes brighter.
"I've never seen anything like it"
This year, the red tide is especially visible because the ocean's tide is higher than usual, probably because of heavy rainfall in the area, which is also conducive to the spread of phytoplankton. The results of all this are spectacular, especially when dolphins are around too.
Paige Taylor, a local, told CBS Los Angeles it was "spectacular" and that she only saw it only "about once every five years."
The Guardian interviewed Dale Huntington, a 37-year-old pastor who lives in southeast San Diego. He got to surf on these bioluminescent waves at night. "I've been surfing for 20 years now, and I've never seen anything like it," he told them.