Red water reappears off West Seattle: Looks like non-toxic noctiluca again

Janel sent that photo early this morning from her neighborhood in The Arroyos, the southwesternmost area of West Seattle, wondering if the red water was a sign of an algae bloom. If it’s the same stuff that did the same thing in June of last year, it’s a “bloom,” but NOT algae – single-cell microorganisms known as “noctiluca.” Here’s one of our stories from last year. It is also NOT TOXIC, according to experts, and not uncommon, though the sight of it last year was enough to startle a sizable number of people. So far, we’ve only heard from The Arroyos – let us know if you see it anywhere else.

11:33 AM: Via a Twitter inquiry mediated by our friend Evonne from, we hear this has shown up at Lincoln Park, too.

7 Replies to "Red water reappears off West Seattle: Looks like non-toxic noctiluca again"

  • Mary June 9, 2012 (2:24 pm)

    There is a fascinating trove of fun facts when you google ‘noctiluca’. Also known as ‘Sea Sparkle’. Various colors & phosphorescence depending on diet. Wonder if Beach Drive will be glowing in the dark??!!!

    • WSB June 9, 2012 (2:29 pm)

      Last year some folks went out paddling at night in hopes of seeing that. If I recall correctly, it was fairly subtle … we went out to look from the shore but streetlights overshadowed any glow … but take a look, you never know! – TR

  • Sabra Schneider June 10, 2012 (11:06 am)

    Thanks for the info. It was very present at Lincoln Park too this morning. Paddling in the glow sounds fantastic!

  • Bunnyfer June 10, 2012 (4:02 pm)

    Saw it off Mee Kwa Mooks park too, around 2pm

  • Mike June 10, 2012 (8:11 pm)

    I was at Seahurst Beach in Burien at 7:30pm this evening. The noctiluca has really spread there; it stretches the full length of the beach (about a mile) and in some places extended out 30 or 40 yards from the shore line.

    • WSB June 10, 2012 (8:13 pm)

      Thanks! I actually received some photos from someone who visited there and am posting a followup shortly – TR

  • bruce June 29, 2012 (6:19 pm)

    I saw a nice display of the little critters @ seahurst park on 6-27 around 2 pm. They extended out from the shoreline for about 150 feet as far as I could tell from my vantage point. The mass ran north and south up the beach for as far as the eye can see. Some clown went swimming out in it. He said the water tasted nasty. Good thing they are non-toxic.

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