Sunny Jim’s Cave and La Jolla Cove
The magnificent beauty of the La Jolla coastline will take your breath away. It is a must see when in San Diego. La Jolla shores is a long sandy beach where you can rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards. But La Jolla Cove is something very different… a picturesque treasure grove offering an incredible place to snorkel, dive and explore colorful marine life.
I spend a lot of my time here in the summer snorkeling or just exploring the tide pools. Watch out for big waves!
In the background below you can see Children’s Pool which is mainly occupied by seals and sea lions. It was originally created as a safe spot for children to swim but the local marine life seem to like the little safe haven for their pups and a nice nap.
The easiest way to tell the difference between a seal and a sea lion is that sea lions have external ears. Sea lions bark, while seals grunt. Sea lions have large flippers that allow them to sort of ‘walk’ up onto rocks, while seals scoot and wiggle more on their stomachs.
You’ll be watching seals and sea lions frolic in the waves, shimmy up onto large rocks, battle and bark and then happily snuggle in with family and friends for nap in the sun.
The Cove is a part of a 6,000 acre underwater park including an ecological reserve making it a colorful playground for seals, barracuda, giant sea bass, baitfish, octopus, sea turtles and lots of orange garibaldi. I’ve been right in the middle of a school of orange garibaldi while seals were swimming below.
I know it looks like I’m pretty close to him but I always keep a safe distance. That being said, it is against the law to approach and try to interact with the marine life. It is considered harassment and could lead to a citation. The sea lion below here was in a lot of distress. They will bite.
The cove also offers an amazing array of bird life nesting on the cliffs, preening and posing for perfect pictures.
After visiting the Cove I highly recommend walking up to Sunny Jim’s cave to visit the only sea cave accessible by land in California. It’s just a very short walk up the hill from the cove.
It took German engineer, Gustav Shultz, (arrived in 1902) 20 months to dig the tunnel that leads to the cave with two employees using picks and shovels. Then they installed the wooden stairs and shortly after that Shultz started charging admission and today people still come visit his cave.
It does have a bit of a shady history involving smuggling of illegal aliens and whiskey…
The silhouette is named after Sunny Jim, the British Force wheat cereals mascot in 1920
Am i going up or down? 😉
A Few Things…
– Parking can be a real challenge so bring patience. There’s free parking along the coastline but there’s a 2 hour limit on most of those spots.
– There are lots of restaurants and stores within walking distance (some offer parking).
– Make sure your camera is fully charged!