The Sounds and Experience of Punta San Juan

The growling and screeching sounds echoed through the large rock faces and funneled towards the house. We stayed at the Punta San Juan Biological Research Station and standing on the overlook you were overwhelmed with the sounds coming from below. Fur seals covered the rocks and moved in and out of the water. They would play almost liked dogs with their mouths wide open hitting into each other. For as graceful and swift as they are in the water they lose much of this when they come on land. They look like rocks on the beach. The activity level on the beach below was quiet at times and louder when they were more active.

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The screeching calls were strange and at times were alarming but it was never anything, just play. Communication among the other species on Punta San Juan was always changing on the reservation. On the sea lion beach sounds sometimes resembled a lion. The Humboldt penguins were usually quiet but we could hear a few calls which oddly enough sounds like a donkey. The Peruvian gulls often seen in pairs were often caught looking at us and sounding their high pitched alarm.The other birds like the cormorants and inca terns had calls but were less noticeable than that of the other species. Our interaction on the nature reserve was amazing. I have never been closer to wild animals and probably never will.

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The second day we woke up and went onto the overlook and looked down, the fur seals were there calling and communicating with one another. I could hear them all night but it wasn’t a bothersome sound. It was one that I invited to fill my head. Comprehending how neat of an experience this is is something that I wanted to capture from all aspects. Taking pictures, looking around and listening to the sounds is something that I hope will help me never forget how lucky I was. I’ve been here, in Peru for nearly a week and it is still hard to believe that I am here. The things we have experienced so far have been incredible. I am trying to take conscious time everywhere we go to look around and just listen because my experiences here are things I do not ever want to forget.

A beautiful clear sunset from the Research Biological Station at Punta San Juan.

A beautiful clear sunset from the Research Biological Station at Punta San Juan.

As I stand on the overlook I open my ears and welcome in every sound. The sound of my guano covered shoes on the cement, the soft wind, the screeching calls of the seals and the waves breaking on the rocks. The waves are intermittent, a series of softer waves break and splash against the rocks is divided by a louder more forceful crash. Just like every wave not every place sounds the same, taking time to listen and not just look at the environment can open your eyes to an entirely different dimension of sense of place and more importantly your sense of self.

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