La Jolla Kayak Leopard Shark Snorkel Tour
by: Wesley Somoza
Owner of Visit Southern California
La Jolla Kayak
2199 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
Price for Original Sea Cave Kayak Tour
Single Kayak - $45
Double Kayak - $79
Mount Soledad Bike Plunge Tour
Single Bike - $40
Leopard Shark Snorkel Tour
Single Person with gear - $39
Single Kayak - $29
Double Kayak - $45
La Jolla Kayak also offers rentals on surf boards, snorkel gear, bikes surfboards and SUPs.
Walk into the shop at La Jolla Kayak and ask or grab one of their marine life fish cards that sit in the shop. This card will show you the vast amount of marine life that exists in the waters of La Jolla a simple 3 minute walk out to the beach. Of all the fish on the card only one truly stands out from the rest of the pack. The Leopard Shark. First question I have heard people ask is “do they bite”. Now I do chuckle a bit on this one cause it is a good question cause we all associate sharks with biting and eating just about anything, so the simply answer is “yes they bite”. However the great staff at La Jolla Kayak is quick to point out that they have no interest in taking a bite out of a human. So now originally when I took this adventure tour my thought was how log do I have to paddle in order to see let alone snorkel with these leopard sharks. To my first time surprise I was blown away cause the majority of these leopard sharks swim right along the La Jolla Beach shore line. Yep, chances are if you have ever gone in the water knee deep at La Jolla Shores you were unknowingly “swimming with sharks”. Crazy to think about but also reassuring to consider cause you have never been bit. Haha.
Car parked and all checked in. Again for a small fee La Jolla Kayak does provide lockers to store your valuables you do not want to take on your snorkel journey. Keep in mid again that parking is limited in and around the shop in La Jolla so give yourself plenty of time to find a parking space that is not limited by time (cause you will get a ticket). For this journey unless you are doing it on a really hot day spend the extra money to rent a wetsuit before you charge into the surf. The Pacific Ocean is cold and you do not want to be miserable in the cold water and have it sully your adventure.
So you get checked in grab a snorkel mask and fins and the added benefit of some quick snorkel training. You walk the 3 minute journey down to the boat launch and literally jump right into the water just left of the boat launch that is a designated swimming area. Depending on the tide change the water can be as low as 3 feet deep to as high as 6 feet deep. Plunge yourself into the water, keep your eyes open and stay relatively still cause before long you will have between 2-5 leopard sharks swimming you and checking you out. It is a pretty awesome experience. The harmless sharks are magnificent to see up close and they move so gracefully in the water. Swimming along side them is a great adventure and it never feels old or long. The staff at La Jolla Kayak are first rate as always and will guide you to where the sharks are most plentiful. You do need to caution yourself cause you are in the ocean near the shore line so waves are coming in and out and if you are not careful you could get picked up into a wave and washed up on shore which is not fun if you are not expecting it, so always give a look to make sure you are staying in a safe swimming zone range. The staff will tell you, but do not feed the sharks. It will screw up their eco system and why risk the chance if getting a baby bite, right?
For the gear and the snorkel gear it is $39 which is a solid value. This is an adventure that has some amazing fun moments and the thrill of swimming with these beautiful creatures is well worth the money. The staff also does a great job of taking care of you and catering to your needs in regards to wetsuit and personal flotation devices when snorkeling. I would say that if you are not a well seasoned swimmer this journey is not for you. There are just too many elements going on in the water that will mess with your head or cause a panic and you do not want to panic in the ocean cause the ocean will always win. I think if you want to experience this in the natural environment of these leopard sharks this is a great adventure!
The cost of the tour is fair however if you want to save yourself some money on this join as a Benefits Member on Visit Southern California for either $6 per month or $45 per year and you will be sent FREE vouchers on this tour and other offerings from La Jolla Kayak. Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience if you have used La Jolla Kayak before.