Diamonds in the Head

Marine toilets use sea water to flush. There is a hole in the side of the boat below the waterline with a seacock imbedded in the hole to control the flow of water. The seacock is a vital component on a boat and the only thing stopping water from coming into the boat and sinking it.

So, the first time, I saw sparks in the head, I didn’t know what was going on. I am sure that you will agree, that this is not what you expect to see in a toilet bowl. “Hey, come see this!” I said to my husband. He peered over my shoulder as I pumped the head and laughed. “Phosphorescence”, he said.

Later that same week, we heard a hose running. It was well past dark and the marina had been quiet for several hours. When we went out to investigate, we were surprised to see one of our neighbours spraying water from a garden hose into the harbour. Phosphorescence everywhere. Sparkling, droplets in a Northern-Lights, blue-green hue.

Ocean phosphorescence, commonly seen at night when the water is disturbed, is largely due to the dinoflagellates; they occur ubiquitously in the oceans as planktonic forms, responding to mechanical stimulation when the water is disturbed by emitting brief bright light.”  (via

A large sea lion came into the harbour and as he swam through the water, it was as if he had a sparkling green cape on. Fantasia of the sea: his movement disturbing the tiny, living organisms emitting light. It is an experience that I will never forget.

Alas, we have no photos or video of this experience. It was one of those wondrous moments when you just live it. When I searched online for images or video, there were very few that captured the magic of phosphorescence. If you have good quality photos, please upload them to Google Images, so others can see what phosphorescence looks like.

My wish for you is that you get to experience this in your lifetime. No special effects; just beautiful, magical Mother Nature.



2 thoughts on “Diamonds in the Head”

  1. Love phosphorescence! While on a kayak trip this summer on the northern tip of the island, we were sitting around one evening enjoying a campfire when a pod of Orcas passed by lighting the way with phosphorescence! It was one of the most beautiful, natural light shows I have ever seen!

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