Cyanobacteria living in the harsh environment of the desert have to protect themselves against high light intensity and prevent photodamage. These cyanobacteria are in a desiccated state during the largest part of the day when both temperature and light intensity are high. In the desiccated state, their photosynthetic activity is stopped, whereas upon rehydration the ability to perform photosynthesis is regained. Earlier reports indicate that light-induced excitations in Leptolyngbya ohadii are heavily quenched in the desiccated state, because of a loss of structural order of the light-harvesting phycobilisome structures (Bar Eyal et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci 114:9481, 2017) and via the stably oxidized primary electron donor in photosystem I, namely P700+ (Bar Eyal et al. in Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenergy 1847:1267–1273, 2015). In this study, we use picosecond fluorescence experiments to demonstrate that a third protection mechanism exists, in which the core of photosystem II is quenched independently.