We had been looking forward to seeing the La Jolla sea caves for some time. Unfortunately we learned that this could not be done without a guide present so I started the research to find a company that would allow us to take our Sea Eagle out on the tour. After some phone calls I found one that would allow this and took out small groups only (just what I wanted to hear) but decided we would rent a double instead due to parking restrictions in La Jolla. Didn’t want to be truckin’ the darn thing several blocks after inflating her on the street. Nina and Paul were game to kayak as well as they had not seen the sea caves either.
Let me start by saying that the weather was pretty darn perfect. A sunny, calm 80° day could not be better. You see a ‘but’ coming here, don’t you? We did have a good day, in large part due to the company (Nina and Paul), and that we were wintering in San Diego on a gorgeous day and on the water. BUT I cannot recommend taking a kayak tour to the sea caves. I will not mention any company names because I suspect they are all the same. All four of us agreed that many times tours can be a disappointment, too commercial, too many people.
We paddled out to the caves in a group, feeling more like we were playing a game of kayak bumper cars, dodging left and right. The small group we were expecting turned out to be more like 15-20 kayaks, what appeared to be the largest of the tour companies out there. The rented kayaks did not have a keel so the steering could be a challenge. Picture 15-20 kayaks, with mostly novice kayakers in them, bobbing out on the Pacific. Now put a paddle in those kayakers’ hands and tell them to paddle a straight line out to the caves. Guess what you get? I don’t even have to tell you, do I?
We all made it safely to the caves and proceeded to get into a long line behind other tour companies waiting to get in (only two kayaks allowed at a time and only one cave available for viewing). The four of us were among the last of our group to enter, behind our guide. It doesn’t take much to paddle into the cave and as soon as we got into it our guide said “paddle backward once on your left and three times forward on your right”. This positioned us heading back out of the cave. We foolishly thought we were going to go in further backwards to see something spectacular that we could not be seen going in forward. What we heard next was “now paddle out”. That was it! If we had blinked we would have missed it.
When heading back to shore, we had the pleasure of having four common dolphins swim very close to our kayak. Unfortunately we were not able to grab any photos but this, along with the sea lions we saw on the rocks, probably were the highlights of our time on the water.
We had decided on lunch after but none of us had planned to get wet (go figure) so didn’t have a change of clothes. Not to worry as we sat outdoors at a little Vietnamese restaurant and dried out. Great conversation and great soup rounded out the day. We said our goodbyes with the hopes of a hike in our future.
Back at home, over a glass of wine, Terry and I had a good laugh as we went over our 30 seconds in the sea cave. Not the best part of our day but a very good day overall and we would definitely go back out to La Jolla Shores for more kayaking, BUT in our Sea Eagle AND sans guide.
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10 thoughts on “Sea Caves of La Jolla”
So glad you have a sense of humor and are flexible. This had me laughing the entire time I was reading it. Maybe another time, another place, to kayak into a sea cave. Thanks for the good start of my day.
We know we will have many more experiences to take our breath away so no sweat!
Its frustrating when it is not what it is billed to be. Someday we’ll all go back to Bayfield and hire a guide to take us through the sea caves there. My friend has done that and says its great.
Terry and I were just talking about how special that would probably be. Let’s all put that on our bucket list.
Great round-up of the day. Totally enjoyed our time together!
The caves look very intimidating – I would be relieved at all the other people for fear of being stuck in a scary movie!
What a great trip!
I have to admit to being claustrophobic but did not feel the slightest bit so in this cave, especially with only a couple other kayaks in there with us.