It's hard to beat La Jolla Shores for sheer diversity of activities. Diving, boogie boarding, surfing, and sunbathing all take place within a few hundred yards of each other.This is very much a family beach where everyone will find something to enjoy, regardless of age. A playground was added a few years back, making this a great site for divers with young children.
Known simply as "The Shores", La Jolla Shores is a popular training site for divers. You can find classes gathered on most any weekend morning. The sand bottom lends itself well to novice divers, navigation exercises, and rescue classes.
Like any sand, bottom, the sea life is well camouflaged. One needs to look carefully to see anything beyond a few sand dollars and sea pens. More careful observers will be treated to rays, Halibut, Angel, and Leopard sharks.
A few hundred yards offshore lies La Jolla Submarine Canyon. This canyon plunges to depths of 650 ft or more. The edge of the canyon appears at 60 to 75 feet. Below these depths, the bottom falls off very rapidly. Clams and blennies are common on the wall itself. The bottom in this area is mudstone which can silt up if vigorously disturbed.
Diving at high tide is definitely preferred. The beach has a gently sloping section which is thigh deep at low tide. This makes for a long walk when exiting. Food, drink, and air fills are available around the corner at Ocean Express on Avenida de la Playa.
Enter the water at the foot of Valecitos Street. Depending on the waves and your comfort with surf entries, you may want to either wade out, then don your fins, or do the classic heavy surf entry. Watching the other divers there will provide some guidance. There is a small rip current at this point which will help carry you out to deeper water.
There is also a north-running shore current which will carry you into the boogie boarding or surfing area if you tarry too close to shore.
Squid return to The Shores every year to mate, lay their eggs, then die. Other creatures know this and come to feast on the dying squid. The sheer number of animals concentrated one one spot makes this a must-do dive. Dates are not entirely predictable so it is best to check with local dive shops for information.
If you don't mind a substantial walk in your dive gear, you can walk south to Marine Room. There are reefs to the southwest which are far more interesting than the sand flats.
Copyright 1998, David Ambrose
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