Blue tears may be the most beautiful, surreal thing you ever see

Like a scene straight out of a movie (Life of Pi, anyone?), the glowing ocean waters around those little islands has to be some sort of special effect, right? If you think so, you might need a little refresher on all the cool, amazing things that can be found on our little planet. The lands have scenic mountains and canyons, the skies have the Aurora Borealis, and the oceans have Noctiluca scintillans.

This amazing spectacle, known as Blue Tears, can be seen in the Matsu Islands of Taiwan. It has been named one of the 15 natural scenic wonders of the world by CNN, and has continued to draw travelers from near and far to take in the breathtaking sights.

Noctiluca scintillans bloom at night
Noctiluca scintillans bloom at night

The glowing waters are caused by certain algae called dinoflagellates, which produce a glowing light when the water they are living in is disturbed by motion. They can actually be found in most of the world’s oceans but are generally too small and dim to see. However, during the warmer summer months in more temperate waters, they can grow in higher concentrations, which then allows us to see the beautiful blue glow they create.


A guesthouse owner in the Matsu Islands says that these magical algae can best be seen in clear waters, away from light pollution. Calmer ocean waters also allow for better views, and walking along the beach at the edge of the tide can create the most stunning footprints you’ll ever make.


While the beaches along the Matsu Islands do have amazingly beautiful scenery to go as a backdrop to this beautiful phenomenon, if you are unable to make the trip, there are a number of other sites around the world where you can enjoy this spectacle – from the US and the Caribbean, to Europe, Australia, and areas around the Indian Ocean.

You can also see the glowing tides in action in this amazing time-lapse video.

As gorgeous as the video is, it definitely can’t compare to the magic of seeing the real thing!


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