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HomeNewsManly bioluminescence returns, sprawls magic across the region

Manly bioluminescence returns, sprawls magic across the region

Update: Bioluminescence has reappeared across the Northern Beaches, with sighting at Freshwater and Manly late last night, 11 January 

Previously: Brilliant blue bioluminescence had lit up almost every beach on the Northern Beaches overnight, Thursday 28 December 2023, attracting crowds late into morning.

The phenomena, most likely  Noctilluca Scintilla or sea sparkle or sea twinkle, is caused by a red algae.

People gathered at Manly and across the Northern Beaches to watch the sea burn bright blue. Photo: Damian Pincus

Algal blooms occur in response to changes in temperature or rain or nutrients in the water. They are little organisms, so while not toxic to humans it can cause a bit of skin irritation.

It first appeared on Wednesday night at Palm Beach and has since made its way along Warriewood, Dee Why, South Curl Curl, Freshwater and Manly and Shelly Beaches.

Will there be more bioluminescence in Manly or elsewhere on the Northern Beaches tonight?

The short answer is, we don’t know.  But the most common times it appears seems to follow the rising tide, which will peak at Manly at 11:14pm this evening. If there is to be any magic on show, from 9pm until midnight is the best chance of it. We have had reports of what seems like “lots of blood” through Manly to Cabbage Tree Bay which could either be debris from a recently deceased sunfish or a sign that there is plentiful algae already in the bay, as this is a rusty red colour when viewed in daylight.

A previous encounter (2021) of rusty coloured water at Bower in Manly signalling future sea sparkle. Photos: Caitlin Alinya

The bioluminescent sea will glow when it’s disturbed by a wave breaking or a splash in the water at night, and is noticeable when there is a large volume and the wind is gentle enough to allow it to stay on the water’s surface rather than sink below.   Should the conditions be right, be sure to tag us on socials @manlyobserver so we can let others know where to enjoy the show.

People gathered at Manly and across the Northern Beaches to watch the sea burn bright blue. Photo: Damian Pincus

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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