Ocean beaches are nice, but for aesthetic beauty, to my mind, the interaction of ocean and a craggy coastline beats the lapping of sea on sand hands down every time. La Jolla, California has both.
La Jolla (pronounced la hoy-ah, or, at least, that’s how I pronounce it; I hope the locals pronounce it the same way) is a city, not just an oceanfront. However, this post isn’t about the city because I didn’t spend much time there. Maybe next time.
Instead, I went for the seaside, which I visited many years ago. I longed to return to take in its beauty again. And I did.
La Jolla has a reasonably long, straight, sandy beach that I stopped at and strolled along but, after spending time on the beaches of Carlsbad and Oceanside, California the day before, my reaction to the La Jolla beach was along the lines of, if you’ve seen one beach you seen them all. Consequently, you won’t see any pictures of La Jolla’s main beach here.
Travel a little south of the beach, driving up a hill, and you will find a small (small being a relative term) cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with a couple of coves below. Stairs lead from the top of the cliff to the coves, allowing you to go down easily and explore.
The coves have everything: Small sandy beaches; rocks jutting out into the water; rocks protruding up out of the water; and a portal that was carved naturally in an outcropping of the cliff-side, through which you can gaze out at the ocean.
Rocks on or near a shore paint a very different picture than waves rolling up on a flat beach. Even when the surfs are slight—as they were when I was there—to my eyes, the white of their washing on the rocks adds more energy to a seafront scene than what you see on a straight, smooth, sandy beach.
I climbed down the steps into the coves and scampered on the rocks on the shore below. Well, not exactly scampered. When I was younger I, as much as a pudgy kid was able, scampered on rocks when presented with the opportunity to do so. However, at my age, I tend more towards walking slowly and tentatively on rocks, taking care with every step.
To complement the scene, a number of sea lions (I checked on the Internet; they are sea lions, not seals) frolicked in the water close to shore, while others rested on the rocks.
A couple of days after my visit to La Jolla, a friend told me that the city of La Jolla now considers this to be a problem. Apparently, the sea lion’s excrement (sea lions will do, what sea lions will do; as we all do) is creating a major smell problem.
I didn’t notice a stench when I was there. I don’t know if a tide had recently washed the crap out to sea, the wind was in a favorable direction to pull the smell away from me, my sense of smell has deteriorated in my old age, or there was some other reason or maybe a combination of reasons, but I enjoyed watching the sea lions and didn’t experience any offense to my olfactory organs.
And, from the sea lion’s perspective, if you have no choice but to be a sea lion, the La Jolla shores seem like a great place to live, particularly if the alternative is to live in a northern climate in the winter. Did I mention that my home is in Toronto, Canada?