We were blessed enough to get to experience the sea life of La Jolla from two angles: once from the ocean and once from atop the cliffs along Coast Blvd.
From kayaks, you get a smattering of garibaldi, sharks, sea lions, harbour seals, and dolphins. Garibaldi (California’s State fish) are easy to see because they are so bright and plentiful. They also tend to be very aggressive and territorial. Male garibaldi are the ones who take care of the eggs until they hatch. More than one of our fellow kayakers had a story of being attacked by a Garibaldi while snorkelling. Even our guide told us of a time when he was scuba diving and he was repeatedly head butt in the mask by this type of fish.
Outside this, the occasional shark or dolphin will make an appearance. In La Jolla the most prevalent sea mammal is the California Sea Lion; these creatures draw an average of 80,000 people a month to the community. Unlike a seal, the sea lion has large front flippers, which allows them to walk on land. This is typically the creature we associate as balancing a ball in a circus performance.
From the cliffs, we saw more seals, birds and sea lions. In one of the photos below, a grouping of sea lions has formed a circular raft. In the raft, each of the sea lions has raised their flipper out of the water to regulate body temperature.
As an aside and travel tip, plan to go visit La Jolla in the early morning if you want to see sea lions or seals at Children’s Pool Beach. Finding parking in the are is impossible unless you get there early in the morning.