Meet You at the Dolphin Rave


Thursday night, off the coast of Southern California’s Newport Beach, a pod of bioluminescent dolphins were seen dancing through an ethereal blue light. A video of their soirée, captured by photographer Patrick Coyne, filled me with equal parts envy and wonder. In actuality, the bioluminescence is caused by phytoplankton, a single-celled organism, that produces a chemical reaction when agitated. This reaction, in turn, emits the sort of vibrant blue light you’d imagine yourself bathed in at a rave, spaced out on your best frenemy’s molly.

In the recent Netflix documentary Night on Earth, a segment featuring similar bioluminescent dolphins asks the question: Do they use the otherworldly light to hunt, or do they just like vibing out? In my opinion, as someone who is neither a scientist or even very smart, think it’s clear these dolphins are here to have a good time. Besides, aren’t plankton incredibly small? I can’t imagine getting a full stomach on them, when instead you could just rave underwater as carefree as… well… a dolphin! [Ed. Note: As Joan states, she is unfortunately not a scientist. The dolphins are not actually eating the plankton, they would be using light from the dinoflagellates to see the food they actually eat, which generally consists of fish and squid.]

In 2013, “dolphin expert” Willow Withy, who “interacts” with dolphins at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden in Vegas, claimed the animals resonate with Radiohead. She isn’t a scientist either, though, so her anecdote should be taken “with a grain of salt”, as HuffPost notes. And besides, it’s not 2013! Nobody resonates with Radiohead anymore. So what music could these dolphins possibly vibe with, were I to row my own boat out onto the waters of Newport Beach and play them a little tune? Below, I’ve compiled a small list of options:

Jezebel’s resident Dolphin Aficionado and Aging Raver Julianne Escobedo Shepherd—who has been studying rave dolphins for weeks—actually met a dolphin way back when, but would like everyone to know that “you shouldn’t pose with captive dolphins thus normalizing dolphins in captivity, so I feel pride and shame at once.” Anyway, when I asked her to approve this list, she asked, “Are you trying to kill me?” Not really, but if the vibes are that strong, who am I to stop them?

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