Something extraordinary is happening off the coast of Ta Waen Beach, situated in Koh Lan, Chon Buri. Spectacular shades of emerald green are swirling in the sea, transforming what was once a vista of deep, glassy blue into a vibrant, aquamarine spectacle. Though the sight is undoubtedly breathtaking, marine specialists indicate that this enchanting phenomenon may not last longer than a couple of days, tending to fade as swiftly as it appeared.
Photos of the remarkable green tides at Ta Waen Beach started making waves on social media when “We Love Pattaya” shared them on their Facebook page. But while the mesmerising hues are not harmful, authorities have advised against swimming in their midst. The primary cause behind this otherworldly marine spectacle is something quite simple – plankton bloom.
Sorasak Thongbongpetch, the honorable secretary of the Koh Lan community, explained the cause behind the sea’s dramatic colour change. Freshwater influx from storm run-off leads to an explosion in the plankton population – a natural cycle that usually ushers in the rainy season. As quickly as it appears, within a few days, the resplendent green fades away, returning the sea to its signature blue hues.
“Only Ta Waen and Ta Yai Beaches are experiencing this plankton bloom. Thankfully, Koh Lan’s remaining beaches are unaffected and perfectly safe for visitors. I encourage tourists not to be alarmed but rather to continue their vacation as planned,” Mr. Sorasak assured.
But why did these usually invisible plankton paint the sea such an intense green? According to Thanet Mannoi, the director of the Marine and Coastal Resources Office Region 2, an abundance of nutrients accelerated the plankton’s reproductive rate. As a result, the plankton reach such high densities that the oxygen in the seawater is rapidly depleted, causing them to die out just as quickly, and the sea hence attains a brilliant green tint.
Mr. Thanet went on to clarify that the department has engaged researchers to extract samples and determine whether the bloom could pose any harm to humans. “The plankton bloom tends to give off an unpleasant odour, resulting from the mass death of plankton. Some folks can exhibit allergic reactions to the bloom, so we recommend against swimming in the green seawater at the moment,” he elaborated.
In addressing speculation that the occurrence might be related to El Nino climate fluctuations, Mr. Thanet stated that there is no evidence suggesting this as a cause. Turning the focus back to the locality, he reminded potential tourists that Koh Lan, known for its beautiful beaches and tranquil ambience, is a highly sought-after destination in Chon Buri. Accessible by ferry or speedboat from Pattaya, the island and its turquoise sea offer a unique, unforgettable holiday experience.