For most of us, the first time we saw the ocean actually sparkle was at the end of The Little Mermaid when King Triton decides to gift his daughter with legs so she can be with the man that she loves. We all just accepted it as beautiful cartoon magic that we’d never get to see IRL (unless, of course, we got to meet a real mermaid and/or King Triton).
But it turns out that we may actually be able to see this sparkly sea come to life. There’s an area of Taiwan called Matsu Island famous for it’s “blue tears” which are actually “noctiluca scintillians” (aka bioluminescent algae that basically glow in the dark).
They’re nicknamed “sea sparkle” for their naturally occurring beauty. And though you can on occasion see them all over the world (depending on a number of conditions), there are plenty to view year-round at the gorgeous Matsu Island.
These algae feed on plankton and other algae. The glow they produce comes as a result of being disturbed, which can happen when the run into the rocks or while being tossed up in waves.
They’re not harmed nor are they harmful, but the result they produce from the disturbance is absolutely mesmerizing.
Certain conditions like warmer months and heavy rain can attract these algae to various areas. If you’re lucky enough to hear about it, be sure to go check it out for yourself. Otherwise, it’s totally worth a trip to Taiwan to see this incredible beauty in all its majesty.
And as a bonus, you can imagine it’s a bunch of invisible King Tritons giving his invisible mermaid daughters the legs they’ve always wanted. Or, you know, just accept the more logical, scientific explanation and enjoy for the gorgeous sea magic it is.