Our plan for the day was to take the Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and paddle over the La Jolla Caves and La Jolla Cove to explore and do some snorkelling. We drove the 30 minutes south down the coast from Oceanside and managed to find the La Jolla shores beach that we were supposed to launch from but were bummed to discover the significantly large swells and onshore wind. On top of that the beach had signs warning about above normal (i.e. unsafe)bacteria levels. Shut out!
We decided to drive a bit further south and see what could be seen from the actual cove. It is located in a protected area so you can’t have any floatable mechanism in the cove (i.e. nothing beyond swimming) to minimize the traffic and protect the sea life. We got lucky and found a parking spot for Fordo just above the cove so hopped out and wandered around.
Right at the cove there is a lifeguard tower and stairs heading down into the water to provide access to swimmers and snorkelers. It seems that there is a fairly large long distance ocean swimming crowd here and they swim around a set of buoys or across the bay. The lifeguard mentioned that it is so busy in the summer time that they actually set up swimming “lanes” using buoys in the ocean.
Just north of the cove is a sea lion “beach” with over 100 of them lounging on the rocks. They seem fairly people habituated because they barely move when you pass by them. They do however bark and get grumpy at the tourists that don’t heed the signs to keep a reasonable distance. There also didn’t seem to be many big males that were protecting their territory, just lots of moms and pups, which were super cute! The downside of that many sea lion’s that close together was the smell – it stunk and stayed with you for hours!
We were definitely disappointed we couldn’t get in the caves but had to agree with the wiseness of the decision as we watched the swells come pounding through the one cave that you could see from shore. It wouldn’t be much fun to be bounced around on the SUP in that! Hopefully we’ll have better luck in February…