Cold wind blows through my hair as the sun beats down and I begin to take in the world around me. The boat motor slows and we move into an area unlike anything I have ever seen. We are surrounded by the bastilla islands, huge, dramatic and teaming with life. After several minutes of absorbing the bright colors and the massive amounts of birds, seals, star fish, dolphins, jelly fish and mussels, I tried to take in the sounds.
It was difficult to focus solely on the noise when so much was going on around me, vibrant colors and swarms of moving animals. A few times I forced myself to close my eyes for a few seconds, refocusing my mind onto my ears instead of my eyes. When I did this I found myself smiling at the abundance of life and the distinction of their movement and interactions.
Thousands of birds called from the air above me and land around me, almost creating a wall of sound. I could hear the difference in this sound from groups far in the distance, those on the rocks surrounding me and those passing directly above me. While difficult to do with the multitude of sounds, I attempted to distinguish between the different bird species throughout the area. Their wall of sound pierced through the air, at times much quieter but at others overtaking my ears.
I then focused on the sounds of the water, coming from every direction. Closest to me was the sound of the water lapping on the side of the boat, the rhythm of the sound matching with the rocking motion. Next was the sound of the waves hitting the rocks surrounding us. The noise of the water crashing and receding surrounded me from several directions. Listening closely, I could tell a difference between when the waves were hitting bare rock, echoing through caves or rocks covered with mussels. When hitting bare rock, the impact was heard clearly but the water receding back was much less distinct. When echoing through the hallow enclosed areas of rock the sound was muffled and low. On rocks covered with mussels, the sound focused distinctly on the water pulling back, clattering and hissing between each of the shells.
As the boat motored around a corner, muffling the sounds of the birds and waves, we were exposed to sea lions, sleeping, playing and calling from the rocks. A few slid into the water while others barked at each other or made themselves comfortable on the rocks. Their calls were higher pitched than expected, considering their size and weight. The calls ranged from a sound of being playful to territorial.
The sounds of the water, wind, birds and sea lions echoed through my mind as we boated back to shore. The abundance of life was astonishing, the noise molded together into a habitat unlike any I had ever heard.