Most visitors are drawn to Jersey’s beaches by their long, sun-drenched stretches and stunning vistas. However, a growing number are discovering the dazzling secrets that are revealed only as the day’s last rays disappear over the horizon.
Set to a backdrop of spooky dark sands and moody black skies, ‘moonwalkers’ hiking across the seabed are treated to a spectacular display of twinkling green crescent-shaped lights unique to only a few British beaches, including La Rocque Harbour. This nocturnal spectacle is caused by a plethora of bioluminescent worms that glow and sparkle across the sand and rock pools like constellations as the tide recedes.
In the light of day, these tiny brown marine creatures, measuring around 4mm, appear unassuming. However, when disturbed, a chemical reaction occurs in their bodies that causes them to glow a bright green for up to 20 seconds until they need to recharge their energy supply.
By day, these glowworms perform an important job, churning and aerating the sands into a soft texture, in the same way that earthworms work the soil, but when darkness falls, they reveal their truly mesmerizing style of nocturnal entertainment. While it is suspected that these special worms populate other parts of the British Isles, they can be hard to spot due to light pollution, perhaps explaining why even locals are often unaware of their presence. Thankfully, Jersey’s lack of street lights makes it easier for visitors with a keen eye to experience this natural phenomenon in all its glory.
Beyond these captivating seascapes illuminated by the moon’s rays, nocturnal visitors are treated to twinkling constellations reflected in the rock pools. On a clear night, it’s possible to spot shooting stars or possibly even a planet, but the most striking experience is simultaneously witnessing the universe from both underfoot and up above.
When the moon is at its brightest, star spotters can enjoy breathtaking views, but the greatest treat is when there is little or no moon, as starry constellations collide with the most brilliant displays of bioluminescence.