June & July 2021 Update: Bioluminescence in Puget Sound

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.

June 2021

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

July 2021

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!

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