I had this experience in Puerto Rico that I am sure is somehow going to make it into my next book series: kayaking through a narrow canal of mangrove trees to reach a bay, where single-celled organisms in the water give off light much like fireflies in response to agitation (it was called bioluminescent bay, for obvious reasons).
The experience was not spooky only because we were with a tour group, but on the way back through the mangrove trees, it was pitch dark, and the only reason we did not run aground was because we were following the tiny yellow light of the kayak in front of us (although we did crash into the mangrove trees more than once).
But the whole time I was imagining how this would fit in…
She steals into a single kayak in the dead of night, turning off the single telltale light there to prevent the coastguard from finding her (or… anyone else). Paddling as silently as possible, but putting all her weight behind her a backwards thrust, she guides the kayak as quickly as she can out of the open ocean and into the little cove. The winding canal is only about three feet wide at best, and she can’t see, but she has to hope that her eyes will adjust.
To her shock, though, her paddles themselves seem to give off a faint glow the moment they touch the water’s surface. Of course! she suddenly remembers. The scientist had told her about the mangrove trees… how they somehow manage to convert the sea water to fresh, and their root system somehow deposits high amounts of vitamin B12 into the water, which he said in turn feeds the dinoflagellates and makes them glow. (She remembered the word dinoflagellates only because it reminded her of the word dinosaur.)
She uses the faint illumination to guide her, grateful for it, meager though it is.
She must reach the bay on the other side before dawn. If she doesn’t…
But she cannot think about that. Failure is not an option.