Kayaking the mangrove canals of Vieques Island mangrove canal  and biobay tour


More than 8 years ago Elena designed the one and only ecotour through the mangrove lagoons by kayak, out to the sea for a sunset dinner on a deserted beach and back into the biobay after dark! Elena introduced and trained the present operators of this tour, who have taken off on their own. Elenas' favorite tour guide is Tom. He has learned many of the 'secrets' of this complex ecosystem and will explain them in a fascinating way. Tom charges $75. per person to do this trip. . .

. . . A unique view of the inside mangrove lagoons that create the bioluminescent lagoon! Visit this unusual part of our beautiful planet with knowledgeable guide Tom. You can reserve this trip by email or phone. <>. Elenas' cell 787-297-9888. Elena in in charge of operations for Nestors company now.

black necked stilt in a mangrove lagoon oysters on mangrove roots
Black necked stilt in the lagoon behind Sun Bay in Vieques • Oysters on mangrove roots.


Most people have not experienced the ecosystems that create the bioluminescent bay and a paddle through the mangrove canals will delight you with a new world, one that you have not seen before. The overhanging leafy branches give a soft dappled light over the narrow canals, at low tide the shore birds forage in the shallow waters and the warblers are singing in the branches. It's a delightful experience. Tom is an experienced guide and loves to share his knowledge of this very complicated ecosystem in a relaxing way.

After the inner lagoons and canals you head out the channel to a lovely, pristine little beach that can only be reached by boat. Dinner while the sun sets then launch back into the channel and paddle softly in the twilight into the biobay which will start to twinkle more and more the darker the sky gets. Tom will tie everyone up to a bouy and you will delight in swimming in this magical pixie dust of sparkeling water.

$75. per pers. Trip meets at 3 PM in Esperanza, Vieques Island. A credit card is required to hold a reservation, you must cancel before 9 am of the day of your trip or be billed the full amount. Please do not send CC info by email.

Elena Tel. 787-297-9888 <> VIDEO BELOW

mangrove canals and biobay in vieques puerto rico beach bonfire near biobay
Beach bonfire while the sunsets. .


Puerto Rico has three types of mangroves: Red mangroves, Black mangroves and White mangroves (named for the color of their bark) and Buttonwood which is related and sometimes called a mangrove. All of these line the lagoons and shorelines. What you most readily see from the water is the Red mangrove with its noticeable prop roots. The black and the white mangroves grow behind them. Under normal conditions these trees would reach 60 to 100 feet high but almost all of these trees were leveled by Hurricane Hugo and are recovering. They grow very slowly.

The Mangroves of Puerto Rico are found along the shorelines, fringing the bays and around the lagoons, where there is no wave action

The mangroves shed leaves copiously all year long, creating the basic source of food. Bark, twigs, root material, guano from birds roosting in the trees, and organic matter of all kinds including dead animals and loose sea grass trapped in the maze of roots add to it. All decompose to begin the food chain. Bacteria and fungi are the agents that produce edible detritus and are themselves eaten by marine animals often too small to see. They in turn are eaten by larger animals. And finally, larger predators, including humans, come along to harvest the bounty.

Private guided trips through the amazing mangrove channels. Tom offers this trip in Vieques that starts at 3 pm and includes the biobay after dark for $75. per person. Tel. 787- 297-9888 or email: < >

See the birds, mangroves and fish, in a very protected environment and learn of the importance of the mangroves. People don't realize that the mangrove ecosystem plays such an important role in our planets ecology. Your guide, makes this educational and very enjoyable, something you'll remember for years to come.


Although I shot this video in the Fajardo mangrove lagoon canal, it compares with the canals in Vieques. Same feeling, same ecosystem.

Novillo Beach, Vieques. We pull our kayaks up on the beach and swim till the sun sets, then have our dinner and at dusk we launch back into the chanel and paddle softly in the darkening twilight into the biobay to swim in the sparkling waters.



A variety of organisms utilize mangrove habitats. Marine species inhabitant the underwater prop root complex and tidal channels. All fish and shellfish caught commercially, and by recreational means, utilize mangrove habitat at some point in their life cycle. Amphipods, fiddler crabs, killifish and minnows live in mangroves and eat detritus. Lobster larvae floating in the plankton, migrate to the roots of red mangroves. They consume both plant and animal material. The sea trouts (from the croaker family) tolerate higher turbidity and feed on fish in mangroves and sea grass beds. Also carnivorous, snook can be found in the mangroves. In addition to the marine organisms, both terrestrial organisms and birds utilize the forest floor, root complex and the canopy. Mangrove communities are also known to provide habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species.

Mangroves reproduce by dropping their 'propagules' into the water which float across the oceans until they lodge into the ground, on perhaps a distant seashore. There they take root and form a new plant, if allowed to grow. Propagules contain no seeds. They have already matured on the plant and are 'ready to go' plants that only need lodge themselves to send out their roots and leaves. They are viable, floating in the ocean, for up to a year.

vieques biobay tour with mangrove canals and bioluminescent bay  


The bioluminescent dinoflagellates Pyrodinium bahamense are a photosynthesis using plankton. They are one celled and measure about 1/500 th of an inch. The tiny burst of light it gives off is a hundred times bigger than itself. ( Above is merely an artists depiction of the glow) Each dinoflagellete bursts into light when it feels pressure against its cell wall. The light is given off in an instantaneous process; when you add the light bursts of 750,000 dinoflagellates per cubic foot of water together the effect is spectacular!

Almost all marine bioluminescence is (greenish) blue in color, for two related reasons. First, blue-green light (wavelength around 470 nm) transmits furthest in water. The reason that underwater photos usually look blue is because red light is quickly absorbed as you descend. The second reason for bioluminescence to be blue is that most organisms are sensitive only to blue light.

The luminescence of a single dinoflagellate is readily visible to the dark adapted human eye. Most dinoflagellates emit about 6e8 photons in a flash lasting only about 0.1 second. Much larger organisms such as jellyfish emit about 2e11 photons per second for sometimes tens of seconds. The intensity of luminescence by photosynthetic dinoflagellates is strongly influenced by the intensity of sunlight the previous day. The brighter the sunlight the brighter the flash! Which is only emitted at night.

.. Naturalist Guide Elena
. Helpful Resources:

.. Fajardo Snorkel by boat w/Elena ..Sea Fans ..Coral
Legend of the Golden Heron ..Sea Urchins