La Jolla Cove

Mara and I kayaking in La Jolla

La Jolla Cove is San Diego’s most desirable spot for kayaking, snorkeling and diving. The water is calm and ecologically protected, providing a safe home for colorful garibaldi, yellowtail, rays and even leopard sharks. The harbor seals came very close to the people swimming on the beach. There was a little boy that even felt it was a little too close for comfort!

Actually, I wasn’t surprise to read that the small number of sea lions that swimmers used to enjoy watching frolic some years ago has turned into a colony of as many as 300, ranging in size from 100-pound females to 900-pound bulls, which have been mounting, biting, charging, and baring their teeth at swimmers and beachgoers.

Lately, the increasingly territorial animals have started blocking swimmers from getting into the water, forcing people to walk back and forth on the beach until they can find a safe opening to enter the ocean… Of course, people are exacerbating the problem by tossing fish, potato chips, and leftover food off the cliffs and over the sides of boats. While we were there, we saw a few people jump over the fence to take pictures of the seals and sea lions.

The other big disadvantage is the foul odor of sea lion and bird poop. And I mean, cover-your-face-with-your-t-shirt-or-scarf-exclaiming-OMG-this-is-awful foul. It is actually driving locals and tourists away from area restaurants and hotels.

Ocean Beach Farmers Market, San Diego

I love how a Farmers Market ambiance speaks about its city. Ocean Beach is a funky neighborhood with a free-spirited vibe and the Farmers Market was ubber-crunchy. There were lots of awesome greens and sprouts, raw food, , tons of vegan options, fresh artichokes, kumquats, cherimoyas, unique homemade arts, old hippies dancing to some good bluegrass live music. A real cornucopia of sights, sounds and smells.

We love to support local farmers as much as possible, and we love to have the freshest greens possible for our (almost) daily green juice.

We sat on the beach wall while we enjoyed our dinner. San Diego, you're awesome!

The Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market occurs every Wednesday from 4-8 pm, and is located on the 4900 Block of Newport Avenue, between Cable and Bacon Streets in Ocean Beach.

Banjo making and Old Town, San Diego

A friend had organized a homeschooling tour of the Deering Banjo company, the biggest banjo producer in the United States. It's always interesting to learn how things are made!

Then, we headed to Old Town, a San Diego neighborhood considered as the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization.

We visited the historic buildings La Casa de Estudillo, one of the oldest surviving examples of a typical large Spanish-Mexican U-shaped one-story town house in California. We then walked around Heritage Park where several of San Diego’s most notable Victorian homes have been relocated and authentically restored to their original splendor.

We all  had dinner  together on the terrace of a Mexican restaurant and celebrated another great week of traveling and exploring.

Sunday in Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in San Diego. It’s actually larger than New York's Central Park! In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, gardens, and walking paths, it is home to 15 major museums, renowed performing art venues and several theaters, housed mostly in ornate Spanish-Renaissance structures. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park's site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is probably the most photographed location in San Diego, and it's mostly due to the beautiful Lily Pond. Located in front of the building, this pond is home to a number of koi (Japanese fish), a few turtles and some lotus plants too. The US Naval Training Station actually used the pond to teach rowing and swimming to new sailors during World War I and the US Naval Hospital use dit as a physical therapy pool for wounded sailors during WWII.

It is especially busy on the weekends, but well worth a visit!

Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego

Cabrillo National Monument, established in 1913, commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's voyage of discovery who led the first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of the United States.

At the time Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542, a rich diversity of life was present, ranging from desert cactus to moisture-loving algae, tarantulas to sea slugs, and gray foxes to sea lions. Approximately 3,000 Native Americans lived in the San Diego area at that time. The Kumeyaay, or Diegueños according to the Spanish accounts, lived simply in the environment but likely impacted the landscape through the use of fire. Today, largely due to the impacts of European colonization and centuries of growth and development, the habitat Cabrillo saw is now among the rarest in the world. 

During periods of low tide, pools form along this rocky intertidal area in which you may see flowery anemones, elusive octopi, spongy deadman's fingers, darting fishes and the always entertaining hermit crabs.