How to see bioluminescence in the ocean

Ten years ago, I was out paddling in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand when I noticed a distinctive sparkle emitting from the ocean. I later learned that this was a microalgae that emits a bioluminescent blue glow when disturbed at night. I later witnessed this phenomenon again in Vanuatu and dreamed of somehow photographing it.

Today, this dream became reality. Nature put on one of the best shows of bioluminescence I have seen – anywhere. Better still, I had the right gear with me and captured some stunning photos.

I’ve had so many questions, I thought I’d put together a mini-guide on how you too can witness the aurora of the sea.

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Ruapehu Volcanic Alert Level lifted to Level 2

GNS has raised the alert level of Ruapehu to Level 2 after a combination of crater lake heating, seismicity and gas emissions.

Crater lake heating to 43 °C
The crater lake regularly goes through a heating and cooling cycle. Since 2003, the lake’s temperature has risen above 40 °C six times before cooling to approx 15 °C. Generally, at temperatures exceeding 40 °C we start to see low thermal anomalies on MODIS data (two were recorded this month). Previous eruptions have occurred both when the lake has been hotter and cooler, but are more likely when hot.

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Expedition to the Arctic

The Arctic Circle, Alaska / January 2020

After our expedition to Antarctica, we found ourselves compelled to visit the Arctic also. A land of beauty, desolation and frigid cold. Cold of -40 degrees C and below. And with a desire to push north was a far as possible, our limits were going to be tested to the max.

Join us as we venture through the northern bounds of Alaska and into the Arctic Circle during a punishing winter.

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White Island Eruption

White Island, New Zealand / December 2019

At exactly 2.11pm on Dec 9, an unforeseen phreatic eruption occurred on White Island. Tragically, a number of tourists were in the direct impact zone at the time of the eruption. At present, eight people have died, a further eight are missing (presumed dead) and 31 are critically injured in hospital.

I have been deeply saddened by this tragedy and my thoughts and sympathies are with the families of those impacted. R.I.P. to those who perished – many of which would have been their first – and tragically their last visit to an active volcano.

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Expedition to Krakatau, post Tsunami

Indonesia / November 2019

A year to this date, we set foot and (almost) climbed a very violently erupting Anak Krakatau.  A month later, a large part of the south-western cone collapsed, causing a massive displacement of water. A 30 meter high wall of water smashed into our (now former) campsite causing significant erosion and landslides. If we had been camping there at the time, we would have been toast. Tragically, 426 people were killed by the wave on the mainland.

The the volcano had almost blown itself apart – reducing its height from 338 to 110 metres. The satellite imagery outlined a dramatically changed island. We just had to go back and see the destruction for ourselves.

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Expedition Guatemala

Guatemala / August 2019

Guatemala, you put on an out-of-this-world show for us! Eruptions, lava flows and a spine-chilling electrical storm.

A couple weeks back, we arrived in Guatemala to explore the volcanoes of Fuego and Pacaya. We ended up getting caught up in a massive electrical storm which made global headlines. We’re all safe and back home.

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Classic South Island Snow Storm

Lewis Pass, New Zealand / June 2019

This season’s winter has been particularly mild, but with a South Island snow storm on the way, we jumped on a plane bound for Christchurch, picked up a 4×4 and headed towards the Lewis Pass where we hunkered down and waited for the storm to arrive.

It didn’t take long for the fun destroying cone deployers to be out in force, closing the road. We did however get a good dumping of snow, turning the Lewis Pass into a winter wonderland. Magic!

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Post Ambrym Eruption Expedition

Ambrym Island, Vanuatu / April 2019

As documented previously, unprecedented geological events unfolded on Ambrym Island in December 2018 which ultimately brought about the destruction of the famed lava lakes.

In April, we led the first expedition by foot to witness the dramatic changes. It’s hard to express what has unfolded up there. The intra-caldera area is hardly recognisable.

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Ambrym Island’s famed lava lakes lost

Ambrym Island, Vanuatu / March 2019

The volcanic island of Ambrym, Vanuatu is certainly a wonder of the world. There isn’t another place like it anywhere on our planet. Two imposing cones rise from the desert-like caldera, both churning with molten rock.

I have made descents within both Marum and Benbow’s cones on multiple expeditions. Anyone venturing this close to the blazing lava has felt a blazing sense of mother nature’s disinterest in us. But then it all changed…

Unprecedented geological events unfolded in December 2018 which ultimately brought about the destruction of the famed lava lakes.

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