Natural phenomenon turns North-West beach neon blue

A bloom of bright blue bioluminescent algae has blistered beaches near Penguin. 

Bioluminescent phytoplankton or ‘sea sparkle’ thrives in calm and warm sea conditions.

It was spotted at Preservation Bay on Saturday night. 

Photographer Brett Chatwin said he’d been taking nature photographs on the North-West Coast for 10 years and had never seen the phenomenon. 

Blue crush: A crashing bioluminescent wave at Preservation Bay. Picture: Sarah Kubank

Blue crush: A crashing bioluminescent wave at Preservation Bay. Picture: Sarah Kubank

He said he caught sight of the sea sparkle in waters just past Blythe Heads. 

“It was very interesting watching this iridescent aquamarine colour light up the waves as they crashed,” Mr Chatwin said. 

“It was as good as shooting the Aurora Australis, but a bit easier.” 

Mr Chatwin said he used a digital SLR camera to capture the glowing waves at Preservation Bay.

Preserved on film: Bioluminescence is caused by distressed phytoplankton. Picture: Sarah Kubank

Preserved on film: Bioluminescence is caused by distressed phytoplankton. Picture: Sarah Kubank

He said it was difficult, but possible, to snap a shot using smartphone technology.

Bioluminescent phytoplankton turns bright blue when threatened. 

It’s difficult to determine how long it will remain in a single area.

The Advocate