Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Episode #1 of the course “Natural Wonders of the World”
In the middle of the Indian Ocean lies the sparsely-populated island chain nation of Maldives, including Vaadhoo Island. This island in particular is known for its amazing “Sea of Stars,” where the waters glow neon blue at night. A tiny microorganism—a phytoplankton called a “dinoflagellates”—reacts with oxygen under the water and is triggered to produce this blue glow when it feels movement. Therefore, waters where these small phytoplankton live sparkle as if mirroring or capturing the stars.
This can happen in the right conditions anywhere in the world, but the mystical beaches of Vaadhoo Island are known for their breathtaking displays. Maldives also boasts extraordinary experiences with these phytoplankton on the islands of Mudhdhoo and Rangali. The glow of the mysterious phytoplankton can be seen best on moonless nights.
Vaadhoo Island has a population of about 500, and its major industries are tourism and fishing. Many tourists make a stop at Maldives on their way to India or Sri Lanka. With nearly 1200 coral reefs and ancient underwater volcanoes, the island is a playground for tourists during the day in addition to its spectacular night light show.
As a tourist, it is also one of the most amazing interactive experiences you can have—stirring the glowing blue Sea of Stars. Although some dinoflagellates have been shown to produce a toxin that is dangerous to predators such as fish when the phytoplankton are consumed, people can swirl the water or stir the sand to increase the glowing effect and do not suffer harm.
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