Maldives: ocean of stars
The Maldives is a destination known for its exquisite island appeal, opulent luxury resorts and gorgeous aquamarine waters, fringed with golden beaches. It’s a destination that looks exactly like its shiny travel brochure pictures, if not better. What few may know is that this dreamlike destination is privy to a spectacular natural phenomenon that happens in its Indian Ocean waters and along its magical shores; the ever mysterious and wonderfully romantic Sea of Stars.
One of the main allures of this destination is the seemingly infinite turquoise waters and lagoons that surround the picture-perfect Maldives islands, home to an array of brilliantly coloured corals, gorgeous tropical fish, whales, dolphins and sharks. These waters are also home to billions of micro-organisms and different types of phytoplankton, including the Lingulodinium polyedrum, a unique type of phytoplankton that generates light through specific chemical reactions caused by ‘stress’. This stress is prompted by waves or any movement of the water, which in turn triggers the plankton to emit a special light (or bioluminescence) as a defence mechanism to ward off predators, similar to certain types of fireflies.
This exceptional light is neon blue in colour and seems to brighten with every wave that breaks. A truly breathtaking sight, the aptly named Sea of Stars is truly as magical as it is rare but it has been known to happen every so often in the Maldives and other parts of the world. It was beautifully captured in the film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee. He used this awe-inspiring spectacle to light up the protagonist of the movie when he was lost at sea.
Imagine taking your beloved on a holiday of their dreams. After a sun-soaked day spent lazing on the beach and embracing the sparkling Indian Ocean lagoons, you indulge in some sundowners as you watch the dazzling sunset and celebrate the warm balmy tropical evening with a walk along the beach before dinner. As you and your significant other get to the beach you realise it’s glowing, with thousands of luminescent diamond-like neon lights in the water—seeing the Sea of Stars in the Maldives is nothing short of romantic and something that will stay with you for the rest of time.
The occurrence of the Sea of Stars in the Maldives depends on a number of different factors such as the weather and climate in a particular year and the amount of bioluminescent plankton in the water. There’s one catch; when and where this mysterious occurrence will happen can’t be predicted. While the Vaadhoo Island in the Raa Atoll has become quite famous for its glow-in-the-dark Maldives beach, it can actually occur on any of the 1000 plus islands in the Maldives, if the conditions are right. If you want to up your chances of seeing this sensational sight, the best time to go the Maldives is from the end of summer until the end of the year, according to the locals, but the best time to visit could literally differ from one island to the next.
When you plan your holiday to the Maldives, it’s probably not wise to hinge it solely on being able to see the mesmerising Sea of Stars—nature is wonderfully unpredictable and we can’t guarantee you will be able to glimpse this sensational sight. Instead, plan your once-in-a-lifetime holiday in the Maldives around the fact that it boasts some of the world's most gorgeous islands and beaches, gorgeous luxury resorts, incredible marine life and unparalleled outdoor activities.
Your holiday shouldn’t revolve around seeing the Sea of Stars, but if you are fortunate enough to witness this natural phenomenon, your holiday will be all the more memorable for it.