Imagine a small bay inhabited by a colony of sea lions squatting on steep cliffs, a hundred seals sprawled out on the beach and its rocks, pelicans, cormorants and other sea birds hidden everywhere, all bordered by a forest of kelps where is hidden a dive site overflowing with astonishing marine life… This is the setting offered by the bay of "La Jolla", in San Diego, in Southern California.
Visually, the panorama of this cove is breathtaking. The aesthetics of the cliffs, the formation of caves eroded by the waves of the Pacific, the small white sand beaches and their breathtaking views of the ocean are breathtakingly beautiful. Overlooking the bay, the small town of "La Jolla", consisting of posh houses nestled in their flower gardens carefully adorned with groves and palm trees, contrasts with an unusual nature. We discover the Californian lifestyle, whose lifestyle is a total change of scenery that few visitors do not appreciate. This destination is a real huge and varied playground!
On the program, surfing, kayaking, swimming, paddle boarding, mountain biking, hiking and so on, as well as the usual tourist attractions, such as beach, relaxation and sunbathing! The fauna and flora of the marine reserve makes it a favorite spot for divers from all over the world.
In addition to the richness of the kelps forest ecosystem, the underwater relief off San Diego is made up of abyssal pits, underwater mountains and canyons. It promotes the presence of a wide variety of pelagics such as blue sharks, makos, foxes, dolphins, moons and many whales during their migrations.
La jolla cove
Here, the dives are mainly from the edge, starting directly from the beach. To access the entry of the forest of kelps, it is necessary to realize a short course. On this journey, it is common to have the visit of sea lions that come to satisfy their curiosity and offer a first show to the divers.
Once immersed in the vicinity of the laminaria deeply anchored in the ground until touching the surface, the divers could think in another dimension! A new atmosphere is offered to them. It is then possible for them to discover all the peculiarities of the iconic life of Californian waters.
Cold but teeming with life, the forests of Kelps are the habitat of a multitude of fish, crustaceans, cephalopods and nudibranchs. Even more surprising is the presence, from March to April, of “seven gills” sharks - with seven gills - as well as other species such as angel sharks, horned sharks and guitar rays, for example.
The dives in this particular habitat are a real source of inspiration for photographers and each dive is full of surprises.
Seals do not hesitate to come nibble your fins or to contemplate in the reflection of the dome of your cameras. And it is not uncommon to cross the disorderly swimming of cormorants in full hunt.
La Jolla Shore
Initially, also from the edge, it is also necessary to carry a small capelé to reach a canyon which descends in staircase. Over the surface swim, you will overhang a shallow sandy bottom where you can admire the high concentration of leopard sharks.
From spring to autumn, their pregnant females move closer to the coast to give birth. This results in a strong aggregation of these sharks that are then offered to swimmers, divers or kayakers.
These sandy bottoms are also home to rays. At night, many creatures are discovered during muck-dives. Diving on the canyon is like exploring small muddy slopes. There are many nudibranchs, shrimps, crabs, blennies, octopuses and unsuspected species such as "sarcastic fringehead". A real treat for macro lovers and photographers.
Only a few miles from the coast, the topography of the seabed combined with the temperature of the waters offers abundant pelagic life. There are predators at the top of the food chain, an excellent opportunity to dive his palms among sharks blue skins and makos sharks, species widespread in this region. To be able to observe them, one has to go to about ten miles of the coast and to be armed with patience. Once the sardine mixture to lure the predators into the water, the wait can take a few minutes ... or hours. But what a show when these "customers" are at the rendezvous! The immersion is done in fins, mask and snorkel, thus allowing interactions of several hours with the sharks. Other species can also join the game like huge mola-molas, tuna or dolphins. Offshore San Diego is also the obligatory passage of whale, blue, gray and hump migrations.
The south coast of California reveals an impressive nature where life abounds. At each dive, these are only successive marvels. Pinnipeds, sharks, rays, kelps forest, macros, even green turtles share the site and are of disconcerting accessibility. An atmosphere still really different from that of the French coasts or tropical seas.
In addition, this destination is ideal for any diver ... beginners, experienced, snorkelers and even non-divers. The temperature oscillating between 14 and 23 ° C, a 7mm wet suit or a semi-dry one is still strongly recommended. The only downside to this destination is the “swell”, a swell that makes surfers happy… but when it is present, the surf lifts particles and reduces visibility, which can fluctuate from excellent to very poor for divers!
We thank the dive center SD Expeditions which offers a remarkable personalized service and especially Nick and Kyle! True lovers of the oceans, they warmly transmit their passion in a good mood.
They offer training and supervise board diving, kayaking or boating. These enthusiasts are specialists in large predators and organize, in addition to shark outings blue skins and makos, outings to swim with blue whales.
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