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  • Writer's pictureseimaistato

Have you ever seen plankton at night?

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Koh Lipe, Thailandia, March 2023

We were almost at the end of our wanderings in Malaysia and had decided to indulge in some sea life on a Thai island just a stone's throw from the Malaysian border, Koh Lipe. Passing from one state to another, it was great fun to participate in passport control procedures. In any case, it is an incredible island, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen for its nature, its sea, its seabed.

During a boat trip, we make friends with an English gentleman enjoying his retirement, an Israeli guy who I discover is the head of an army department, a German and two Italians - led by a very tender sailor who speaks to us in gestures, and a little boy who could be his grandson, who knows. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, in reality we simply finished the day enraptured by all the beauty we had seen outside and underwater.

In the evening, all four of us go to eat at an excellent little restaurant and it is here that Thomas' proposal comes up: "Shall we go and see the plankton on the beach?"

We look at each other ecstatically, none of us had ever seen plankton in the dark - apart from Tommy a few nights before.

After dinner, we ran to the shore and started rubbing the wet sand with our feet, between one wave and the next, while we saw many small lights here and there. What happens is phenomenal: the bioluminescent plankton glow when they are 'stressed' by the movement of the water or if they are rubbed with their feet on the thin layer of water remaining on the sand. Some stuck to our feet or calves and we were as happy as children at Christmas.

It is difficult to explain in words why that moment was so special for me. We are often so caught up in the frenzy that we forget what really matters: time, simple things, people, being curious, being human. That trip closed so many circles in my head, and when I think of that evening I smile: we were wet, glowing and happy, in the company of new friends.

Reaching a Koh Lipe

Paradise on Earth

Out and about in the archipelago

The boat group

Locals pt 1

Locals pt 2

Sunsets you’ll never forget

Plankton on the calf

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