(Disclaimer: I’m too busy to be verbose and check grammar these days, so apologies in advance…)
On Saturday morning, we left around 9:40. A billion accidents on the five freeway and 118 miles later we arrived at La Jolla Cove at 2:15. Sometimes it can take that long to get BACK from San Diego on a Sunday night, but we’ve never seen traffic that bad on the way down. Our friends were already at the cove when we arrived, so I hurried my wetsuit on and got in the water. Sam was still recovering from a Chinese cold, so she stayed on the beach.
El Nino is making warmer waters and bigger waves on every Southern California beach, the cove being no exception. In fact, usually there’s really no waves at the cove to speak of, but here they were the size you might have seen at Shaw’s on a good day in 2014 (which is to say, not that bad for an average swimmer to get through). The strange thing is that this somehow drove more people to the beach than we’ve ever seen before as well.
For whatever reason (el nino?), this year the sea lions were much more active. They were swimming through the cove constantly, often coming up to us just to investigate, swimming in tight circles. Other times they would stealthily approach and then jump out of the water right next to us (maybe as a warning?).
Because of the rough water there wasn’t much else to see, but I did manage to catch sight of a baby bat ray when we were on our way out of the water.
The next day, we headed to La Jolla Shore. Unfortunately, the waves there were much higher. Some of the highest I’ve ever seen on a public beach in California. These were rough Malibu size waves. We watched the tours of kayakers try to head out and get toppled end over end after going straight up. Kent and I walked over to Dr. Seuss’s house and tried to swim through the waves to the leopard sharks. We made it past the big waves (which was no easy feat) only to discover that the rough water was churning up so much sand that all we could see was the glittery gold flakes, but hardly a glimpse of the bottom. No sharks.
Googling it later, it turns out that the El Nino this year is being called “Godzilla,” and maybe the worst of the century. Guess I’ll stop trying to convince our friends to go snorkeling with us… until next year.