Even though I lived in Southern California for the majority of my childhood, now that I have returned (after seven years in Chicago) I am finding so many new things to do. The most recent has been snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, and not only snorkeling with fins and a mask but also with seals and sea lions. I have my cousin to thank for this new adventure because he is the one who took me to La Jolla Cove, home to sea lions and a fun spot to snorkel. Just north of San Diego you can find the picturesque cove in La Jolla and jump right in to swim with California marine life.
La Jolla Cove is a popular spot among locals and tourists for kayaking, diving and snorkeling. The area is ecologically protected providing a safe place for yellowtails, orange garibaldi fish, sting rays and leopard sharks. Among these are also the seals and sea lions who have quickly grown in number. Years ago there were only a few seals and today you can find over three hundred enjoying the coastline. The female seals range from one hundred pounds and the male sea lions range around nine hundred pounds. Now I know this may sound scary, to know that you are swimming among animals that size but just be mindful of their space and don’t try to touch them or feed them. At first I questioned whether or not I felt safe swimming with them that close but once I got in the water and knew to keep my distance it was a so surreal. I’ve swam with dolphins in a pool but swimming with them in the open water feels completely different. It’s incredible to watch them play and swim past you underwater. You can also watch them sunbath on the rocks and argue with each other over who gets to stay on the rock. We ventured into the cave to find some seals sleeping on the rocks while two little ones were chasing each other in the water. This is the first cave I have ever swam in and I have to say it’s pretty awesome, plus I was in good company with the sea lions.
My cousin and I have gone snorkeling in the cove twice, the first time was a blast and I wanted to come back as soon as possible. These photos are from the second time we went when it was much sunnier and the water was clear. Before heading out to the cove check the weather forecast and waves. If it’s windy offshore the water will not be as clear and you may not get to see much underwater. We planned our visits based on the tide, arriving just after 10am the first time to swim during low tide and just after 1pm the second time to catch the high tide. The swells that come in can sometimes be strong so make sure you feel comfortable with swimming in the ocean before jumping in. If you don’t feel up for swimming in the water you can also book a tour with local kayak companies who take you out to the cove and into the cave. While we were snorkeling several kayak groups would pass by and into the cave, it was fun eavesdropping on the tours to hear more about the sea lions and history of the cove.
I didn’t think I would be swimming with seals and sea lions in California this summer but here I am, excitedly jumping in the water. Now that I am back in California I can’t wait to find other great activities to do and share with you. Also if you have any recommendations for things to do in Southern California please let me know =o)
x the Adventurer
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