After returning from an epic trip photographing Great White Sharks in Guadalupe Island in Mexico aboard Nautilus Belle Amie, we decided that it would be a shame to fly straight home when there was so much to do in Southern California. So, we hired a car and headed to La Jolla to meet up with local underwater photographer Jami Leslie Feldman (Underwater Paparazzi) who was kind enough to show us around and take us diving and snorkelling at the local hotspots. We stopped in at House of Scuba to rent some tanks and weights for a couple of days and then planned to make a couple of dives and also to do some snorkelling in the area too.
There are two main spots to explore, La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove. Both are very popular with locals and visitors alike, so if you are diving and want to park near the entrance, you need to get there early. Alas, the wind had kicked up just before we arrived, and the visibility was not at its best, but at least the seas had calmed enough for us to explore. La Jolla Shore can be easily snorkelled and you share the water with plenty of other ocean loving people who swim, snorkel, kayak and paddleboard in this huge sandy bay. Under the water, bright orange Garibaldi fish stand out against the seaweed.
What we wanted to see the most was the Leopard Shark that famously congregate in this area, and whilst we did not have clear water or large numbers, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse. We also saw a couple of sea turtles grazing, rays resting on the sandy bottom and a host of fish patrolling the bay. We were surprised to be warm enough snorkelling in just our shorts and T-shirts – but you do have to be careful not to burn, so a thin wetsuit might have been a better idea.
La Jolla Cove is a sight to behold! Sea lions and humans in such close proximity, sunbathing on the beach and playing in the water together is something we have never encountered before. Here you can dive in the kelp to look for Seven Gill Sharks (alas we were not lucky this time) or stay in the shallows to play with the sea lions. As our hotel was just a short walk away from La Jolla Cove, we spent hours just snorkelling with these playful pinnipeds who seem completely unfazed by all the human activity around them.
La Jolla offers a range of fantastic places to eat and drink once you have had your fill of messing about in the water. If you are a craft ale fan, then you are in for a real treat, with several bars offering a huge range of beers to try. We loved Absolution by the Sea and Karl Strauss. La Jolla had provided us with plenty of marine interactions and relaxing night-life, but all too soon it was time for us to move on and head north to Long Beach….
Paralenz Dive Camera
Olympus OMD EM-1 MKII; Nauticam housing; INON Z250 strobes
Images and text by Frogfish Photography