La Jolla Shores, San Diego CA
DATE OF SWIM: 1/26/20
Paddle and swim trip past the breakers that dually functioned as a much needed college reunion!
La Jolla Cove - Sea Lions, Garibaldis, Seals Oh My!
I set down in San Diego with my wetsuit and a lot of happiness to see a former roommate and great friend from college. She'd been in residency for a while, I'd been working, and time has slipped past us. Luckily it was like no time at all had passed.
I'd initially planned to swim the famously beautiful La Jolla Cove, but the day I planned to swim, my friend and I checked out the conditions. We drove down to the cove; it was a gloomy cloudy San Diego day (luckily we got sun the day before!). When we arrived to the Cove, I saw crowds gathering around the fence by the water. Peering down, I saw giant 8 foot waves smashing against rocks, and both a beached seal on shore and man getting pulled out (and rocked around by waves) by a lifeguard. After some initial friendly chatting with the locals who were swimming around the cove and getting out, I decided to skip it and follow their guidance to swim at La Jolla Shores instead. They said it would be a bit calmer over that way. The Cove can be dangerous in bad weather because it's quite rocky. Before we left for the shores, they asked if I was around longer than one day. I told them unfortunately just one day - but I knew they'd invite me for a swim if I had been visiting for longer. It was another reminder of the amazingly inclusive nature of the OWS community.
For a first timer, it made sense to go the calmer route.
But first, shopping.
La Jolla Swim and Sport
A swim friend from Alki told me before my trip that I may need fins to swim the Cove, so I was prepared for potentially buying my first pair of fins. I called La Jolla Swim and Sport by La Jolla Cove before heading out to the Shores, and the kind and helpful owner told me she had fins for rent and sale. I ended up buying some extremely lightweight foam fins, new Aquasphere goggles, a new TYR suit and a yellow souvenir swim cap with a bright orange Garibaldi fish on it! Again, before we left, she asked how long I was in town and if I wanted to swim with her. Unfortunately I just had this day!
It was so fun to go to a shop dedicated to swimming - like Christmas but maybe even better. I left wondering why we do not have one of these in Seattle with our huge OWS community!
La Jolla Shores
After I spent too much money, my friend and I headed down to the Shores. There was a surf competition happening; it was very fun to see the huge waves and all of the surfers in their wetsuits. I felt at home!
After chatting with the lifeguard a bit about where to swim, conditions and blowing up the inflatable kayak (which had a small hole in the bottom...), we set off. I swam out past the breakers diving under the waves, a bit scared. My friend cruised ahead of me in the kayak, bumping over the huge waves. It definitely was less wild here than the Cove, but this was no Alki beach!
The swim was short (about 40 minutes), water so warm, and company superb. I highly recommend checking out La Jolla Swim and Sport (they apparently do guided swims around the cove, too!), talking to the lifeguards before a swim in a new ocean spot like this, buying fins to help with waves, and swimming La Jolla Shores if the Cove is too chopped up!
At the end of the swim when we went to the showers to wash the sandy kayak off, two open water swimmers came up to me and asked about my Blue Seventy suit. They were so friendly and eager to chat and make friends. It was yet another reminder of how welcoming, energetic and kind this OWS community is.
Apparently, the Shores and Cove has small leopard sharks which live on the bottom of the ocean floor, so you can see them when it's clear but shouldn't be too worried. You can read a lot more about safety and swimming at the Cove at the La Jolla Swim Club website!
Happy Swimming (and paddling!)
PS - We luckily had no issues with the hole in the kayak! :)