Sea Caves: Kayaking in La Jolla Cove

One of the things I love about Southern California is the many underwater nature preserves. One of my favorites are the sea caves in La Jolla Cove. Everything from sea lions, to leopard sharks, to the Garibaldi( California’s State a Fish), there are plenty of things to see in this aquatic wonderland. For this little adventure, we used Everyday California for our kayak and gear rental. They’re right next to the beach, so it made things a lot easier than dragging kayaks and all our gear from the car to the beach, etc.
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Once we signed our lives away(literally), we were off to the beach to paddle out to the cove and go explore the sea caves. This is where one of the fun parts about kayaking in the ocean comes in, especially in California. Waves. Yeah, those majestic, powerful walls of water crashing onto the sand may look and sound peaceful, but they can be aggravating or hilarious. Depends who the waves are flipping over, you, or the person in the kayak beside you. The key is to keep paddling, propelling yourself through where the waves start to crest until you’re past the surf. If you don’t, the waves turn you sideways and send you tumbling end over end into the water. It’s kind of like when you’re paddling out while surfing, once you’re past the surf, you’re good. We finally made it past the waves and started paddling our way to the sea caves. The sea caves aren’t very far from where we pushed off from, but it’s a nice little paddle, probably around 20-30 minutes.

We arrived in fashion, tired and beat up from our fight with the sea. Behold the sea caves!

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The Sea Caves!

The Sea Caves!

Sea Lions lounging in the sun

Sea Lions ounging in the sun

We paddled up to the caves and we anchored our kayaks and went for a swim. La Jolla Cove is a protected marine sanctuary and there are tons of wildlife above and underwater. The animals are very friendly and far from shy. especially the sea lions.

Group Shot!

Group Shot!

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The Garibaldi(California State Fish)

Some kind of ray just passing by

Some kind of ray just passing by

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Underwater Selfie!

We swam around with the Leopard Sharks and some sand sharks as well. Don’t worry, they wont eat you. We even had a sea lion swim by and say hi.

Friendly Sea Lion just wants to play

Friendly Sea Lion just wants to play

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These guys were trying to hide themselves under the sand

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Leopard Sharks

Leopard Sharks

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As we paddled back to our point of origin, we noticed that we had a tail. The sea lion that came over to play earlier, decided to follow us back. He swam in between the kayaks and darted around before finally leaving us to go pursue other sea lion interests

This guy followed us all the way back to the beach we pushed off from.

This guy followed us all the way back to the beach we pushed off from.

Once we made it back to our rally point a little off the shore, the rest of the fun began. Remember the waves I was telling you about earlier? Well, they’re back! This time they were fun. Let me introduce you to a little thing called kayak surfing. It’s a lot of fun. It’s exactly like regular surfing, but you’re sitting down in a kayak. While you’re sitting behind where the waves start to crest, you time yourself with an incoming wave and start paddling with a vengeance, always keep paddling, as this keeps the nose of the kayak pointing straight. If you don’t, you’ll end up tumbling like I mentioned before.as you’re paddling, the wave finally catches up to you and lifts you up as it crests, and propels you towards the beach, exactly like you would be if you were surfing.

This is what happens when you stop paddling while kayak surfing....

This is what happens when you stop paddling while kayak surfing….

With our ego’s battered and bruised, we all made it to shore. After we showered off and changed back into our clothes, we celebrated like champions with beer and nachos!         

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16 thoughts on “Sea Caves: Kayaking in La Jolla Cove

  1. Love those sea lions! I bet people are feeding them – why else would they be so unafraid? Pretty cool though, to get to swim with all that wildlife. And kayak surfing sounds like something I seriously need to try 🙂

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  2. Looks like so much fun! We wanted to do this when we were there last summer, but we couldn’t fit it in. Will definitely have to add it in for our next visit though!

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  3. I used to live close to this spot and always looked forward to the leopard sharks returning every year. Thanks for the great photos and bringing back some fond memories!

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  4. This looks brilliant. I love places I can snorkel and kayak. I had no idea there would be so much sea life quite close to the shore in Southern California. The underwater photos are great. Thanks for sharing

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  5. What a great adventure! I loved all the sea life you were about to see in the cove while you were snorkeling. Not sure if I’d be brave enough for the kayak and the waves!

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  6. Woow…
    Amazing picture and experience.
    My husband does water sports for many years, but I started kayaking and snorkeling just last year and I fell in love with such a beautiful sport.
    I was delighted by your day and your photos…
    For sure will put South CALifornia on our dive radar!
    Happy travels!
    Nat

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