La Jolla Cove

A visit to cove and cliffs of La Jolla, CA

Event Report 20150325

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The Experience

We live only a few miles from La Jolla, but rarely go to the cove area.  One reason is that it is "touristy" and therefore the shops and restaurants are pricey.  The other reason is that traffic in and out of La Jolla is constrained to very few routes and therefore its natural beauty and tourist appeal frequently cause massive traffic hassles, particularly at rush hour.  Because the weather was exceptionally nice, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head to the cove to get some photos.  Despite being mid-day and mid-week, our fears about traffic were realized.

We had lunch at Alfonso's and it was in every respect mediocre and over-priced.  But, what else to expect from San Diego's tourist mecca?

The photos below are what we saw and were taken with my new Sony A7M2 camera.

A walk to the cove yields a great view of the really pricey real estate in La Jolla.  The views from the ridge are breathtaking but the homes there are way out of my price range.

There is a sea cave on other side of this point which is a paid-access tour.  I don't think this particular alcove is accessible from the cave tour.  The "blob" on the cliff at the left of the photo is a seal.  Given the steepness of the cliff, it is a mystery how the seal got up there.

The view from a bit further to the west shows the steep cliffs on the point.

This is a panorama stitched together from 10 6000x4000 pixel images from my new Sony A7M2 full-frame camera.  PTGui was used to do the stitching and then the panorama was post processed using Capture One.  CAUTION: Click on image to see full panorama, but beware, this is a 75 MB image so if you have a slow link it could take a long time to load it.  Click on the large image to zoom in and click "back" to return to this page.  Stitching images with dynamic objects presents unique challenges.  PTGui provides tools to assist in resolving these problems, but the process is essentially manual.  The waves provide special problems.  Can you find the stitching errors?

Another multi-image panorama taken from a bit further west along the cliffs. This panorama is "only" 63 MB, but the same caveats as above apply.

Continuing west along the cliffs, we got a great view of a sea bird roosting area.  The birds, combined with seals, leave plenty of stinky droppings on the rocks resulting in a nearly overwhelming stench.  When you are directly downwind, a conscious suppression of the gag reflex is required to prevent decorating the sidewalk.

The black birds are cormorants, but sea gulls and pelicans are also visible in the photo above.

Note the seals on the lower rocks.

This small seal found an isolated spot all to itself.  The white and dark spots are droppings that contribute to the less-than-appealing smell of the area.

Flat spots on the cliff are coveted for napping in the warm sun.

The seals ranged from small infants to large bulls.

The seals were seemingly oblivious to the cormorants and generally ignored them.

Snorkelers are visible at the top of the photo above.

Many of the seals had their snouts held high, seemingly an emulation of their method of sleeping while in the water.  The resting position is referred to as "bottling".

Some of the seals were quite big.  The bull in the center of the photo was easily several hundred pounds.

Flat space was at a premium.

No bottling here; these guys are fully crashed in the warm sun.

Continuing further west, we saw lower areas where seals were resting on rock ledges that were intermittently covered by waves.  The density of the cormorants becomes apparent.

Further west we could see multiple alcoves in the cliff walls.  La Jolla Shores is visible on the far side of the bay.

This beach at the cove had multiple access stairways.  Both swimmers and seals shared the water.

Pricey La Jolla condos were right across the street from the coast and smack-dab center in the scent plume.

La Jolla is considered the "jewel" of San Diego.  Indeed, it's name in Spanish means "jewel".  We were blessed with good weather, but there were tons of folks in the area and parking was challenging.  Good thing there were pay parking lots close by.  The smell notwithstanding, the area is worth a visit if you are in San Diego.

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