I was up to my middle in the dark seawater. A couple of restaurant lights in the distance far behind us made it possible to make out each other’s basic silhouettes. The endless ocean in front of me was pitch black. It looked intimidating. I dove into the water completely, exposing the rest of my body to the wet darkness. The water wasn’t cold at all.
As I moved my arms, thousands of tiny sparkles lit up in the water around me, as if swimming in an ocean made out of moving Milky Way stars. It was absolutely stunning. I’m not sure if I have ever seen such a mesmerizing and beautiful sight before. Everywhere where my body touched the water, tiny glitters lit up. I felt like a magical mermaid. Jenny dove under water and swam further away from the coast. I could easily make out where she was from the glowing mass that moved under water. When she came up for air her hair was filled with numerous glowing sparkles.
“It’s so pretty I feel like singing about it.” “Ok, I just came up with the perfect song title: underwater sky.” “Yes! And then we can borrow the ukulele tomorrow and write the song.” “We should have a band name that has something with mermaids in the title.” Jenny and I had been travelling together since we met in a hostel in Siem Reap a week earlier. We never did write that song in the end. But we did go swimming practically every night we were on the island.
Swimming in a sea with bioluminescent plankton was easily one of the highlights of my trip. I didn’t even know Koh Rong Samloem had illuminating algae on its coast until the barkeeper told us. And I am so grateful that he did. I think I told every single person I met on the island after that about the glowing plankton, because I couldn’t imagine being at this tropical paradise while missing one of the best things on the island.
I might have cheated a bit with crossing this one off my bucket list, because in fact, it wasn’t actually on my bucket list. But that was only because I hadn’t thought about the option yet. If I had, I would have definitely put swimming with bioluminescent plankton on there (and I think you should too). So yeah, call the bucket list police if you want to. I bet they don’t sue mermaids anyway.