When you hear (or see in a map) that there is a place called “The Jewel” about a hundred miles from where you live, it is hard to resist the impulse to discover if the name is used in a deserving way.
Then, when you arrive to the place (after not being capable to fight those curiosity related desires), all you can think is that the early settlers of that place could have not chosen a better name.
La Jolla (the jewel in Spanish), a community in northern San Diego, is characterized by an uneven, rough coast full of caves, rock formations and multicolored shades of ocean. A walk around Coast Boulevard put you in direct contact with soft sand, tide pools and emerald colored coves. Not even a cloudy day can deter you from marveling at how the waves have carved this area of the California coast.
But then a commotion down at La Jolla Cove catches your attention. Most of the people taking a dip in the chilly waters are looking at the same direction. Some guys are walking towards a creature making quickly pirouettes close to the waves lapping against the cliffs.
“Ugh, ugh, ugh,” is all that I hear.
I took a look at the water using my camera zoom and discover who were responsible for the upheaval and the loud noises
A group of about four took La Jolla Cove without caring about the dozens of human beings taking a dip in their ‘hood. What is most; they seem not afraid of being in close contact with people. I felt like they were putting a show and enjoying getting the attention of adults and kids.
At closer inspection, I saw the sea lions popping next to kayakers and swimmers. They used the rocky base of the cliffs to congregate and make their peculiar noises. I mean people pay hundreds of dollars to swim and be close to these creatures (like in the Galapagos). In La Jolla, you can watch, and even get in the water, with these fun animals for free (or for cheap if you are kayaking)
There is no doubt that in La Jolla the sea lions are the lords of the coast. This is a place full of dramatic beauty but the sea lions steal the show with their irreverent movements and behavior.
Walking north along Coast Boulevard, there is a spot where you can spy the sea lions almost at street level. Warning: you can observe them if you can resist the hideous smell for a few minutes. People were not walking this path with their noses covered with all sorts of cloths (sweaters, towels, etc.) for nothing.
I started to wonder how they got so high on the cliffs. My reasoning: they can get up high when the tide is high. My husband differed.
“Are you kidding me?” he said with a grave tone. “They just climb the cliff.”
We kept discussing the point until, to my disbelief, we saw a big specimen climbing the cliff without any reservation. Let me tell you, this sea lion was quite agile and quick. I have never though a three hundred pounds ball of fat (males can weight up to 600 pounds) could be so “athletic.” This particular sea lion was even fighting with pelicans in order to get cleared the spot where he wanted to take a nap.
We continued walking since I could heard the “ugh, ugh, ugh” song amplified by an echo. I knew there were sea lions within an enclosed place somewhere.
At Goldfish Point, I had in front of me one of the most famous caves of La Jolla (some called it an arch). Using my camera zoom again, I was able to see how the cave was full of sea lions. Their sounds can get really loud in this area.
I ended my stroll getting over a promontory and taking a better look at the other caves in the coast. There is a tunnel that takes you down to one of the caves but we were constrained by parking requirements. The caves can also be explored by kayak.
However, I was happy to end the day surrounded by all things spectacular; spectacular views, spectacular coast and furthermore spectacular sea lions. Those silly creatures make me smile every time I think about them.
- If you want to see the sea lions of La Jolla, make sure to walk along Coast Boulevard between La Jolla Cove and Goldfish Point.
- They also like to gather around the Children’s Pool (there is a walkway to see them from up close).
- There is free parking in Coast Boulevard (2 hours max).
Have you seen the sea lions at La Jolla?