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Stunning algae display lights up sea on St Mary's Bay beach

Residents have been treated to a surprising and stunning display of nature on a Kent beach.

In the middle of the night in St Mary's Bay, eagle-eyed families spotted the waves illuminated a dazzling blue as they broke on the shore.

The stunning sight in St Mary's Bay. All photos: Kelly Reeves/Little Pandas Photography
The stunning sight in St Mary's Bay. All photos: Kelly Reeves/Little Pandas Photography

The beautiful effects are caused by phytoplankton in the water which light up at night when moved by the waves.

The bioluminescence is a phenomenon that is more common in warmer climates, but does appear each year in some places along the Kent coast.

Dungeness Estate Manager Owen Leyshon said: "You have to have the right conditions for it to build, then calm tides.

"It is usually only appears in the Hythe Bay side of the Point- any stronger and the plankton will break up."

However, it is less common to find the algae shining so clearly, and it has delighted residents.

Algae build up like this is more common in warmer climates
Algae build up like this is more common in warmer climates

Photographer Kelly Reeves said: "It really was amazing!

"I’m just glad I took my children with me to see it, even though I had to keep them up late. It was worth it to see their faces."

The sight has attracted many people to the beach, but there are still calls across Kent for tourists to stay away amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The government's easing of lockdown has meant that the county's beaches have seen a surge in people chasing the sun, but there are fears over social distancing and spreading of the virus.

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