Last summer, we noticed that various local kayaking Facebook groups had many threads with folks wondering how to view bioluminescence in Puget Sound. We’ve found that the biggest factor is less about where to kayak and more about when to go. If you are planning your first trip to try to find this underwater light show, check out the tips & tricks we posted last year.
If you’re a local paddler, here are the days and times you’re likely to be able to see bioluminescence in the Pacific Northwest in June and July. Note that the times listed below are based on sun and moon timing for our home base of Tacoma, Washington. Your local timing will vary – more info in the article linked above. For ease of planning, we’ve listed each night with two dates – times listed are for the night between. In several instances, you’ll notice that total darkness actually begins early in the morning of the second date.
If you can’t make it during one of these times, you may still be able to view bioluminescence. Your goal is to find water that is in the dark. In the absence of actual darkness, you may have some luck if you can find some shadows on a moonlit night. Or if you’re paddling with a small crescent moon, you may find that you have a good view even with the moon in the sky.
Generally, we find that the bioluminescence really comes out once summer is well-established. You are likely to see some activity in June, but probably not as much as you will find later in the summer. This year, there is not a lot of darkness available between the beginning of summer and the end of June.
|Evening of…||Total Darkness|
|June 29/30||12:06am – 12:46am|
|June 30/July 1||12:05am – 1:05am|
The first few weeks of July will provide a lot of options for total darkness. Independence Day may provide an amazing opportunity to see fireworks in the sky and in the water. If you head out for a night paddle around the holiday, please take extra safety precautions – there may be others out on the water that are not being as safe as we would all like. Depending on where you are, the light from fireworks may also interfere with viewing bioluminescence in Puget Sound.
|Evening of…||Total Darkness|
|July 1/2||12:04am – 1:23am|
|July 2/3||12:02am – 1:40am|
|July 3/4||12:01am – 1:59am|
|July 4/5||11:59pm – 2:20am|
|July 5/6||11:58pm – 2:31am|
|July 6/7||11:56pm – 2:33am|
|July 7/8||11:54pm – 2:35am|
|July 8/9||11:52pm – 2:37am|
|July 9/10*||11:50pm – 2:39am|
|July 10/11||11:48pm – 2:42am|
|July 11/12||11:46pm – 2:44am|
|July 12/13||11:44pm – 2:46am|
|July 13/14||11:42pm – 2:49am|
|July 14/15||11:54pm – 2:51am|
|July 15/16||12:15am – 2:53am|
|July 16/17||12:35am – 2:56am|
|July 17/18||12:57am – 2:58am|
|July 18/19||1:24am – 3:01am|
|July 19/20||1:57am – 3:03am|
|July 29/30||11:05pm – 11:44pm|
|July 30/31||11:02pm – 12:03am|
|July 31/August 1||11:00pm – 12:23am|
We hope you have a great time – drop a comment to let us know how it went!