After returning from an epic trip photographing Great White Sharks in Guadalupe Island in Mexico aboard Nautilus Belle Amie, we decided that it would be a shame to fly straight home when there was so much to do in Southern California. So, we hired a car and headed to La Jolla to meet up with local underwater photographer Jami Leslie Feldman (Underwater Paparazzi) who was kind enough to show us around and take us diving and snorkelling at the local hotspots. We stopped in at House of Scuba to rent some tanks and weights for a couple of days and then planned to make a couple of dives and also to do some snorkelling in the area too.
There are two main spots to explore, La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove. Both are very popular with locals and visitors alike, so if you are diving and want to park near the entrance, you need to get there early. Alas, the wind had kicked up just before we arrived, and the visibility was not at its best, but at least the seas had calmed enough for us to explore. La Jolla Shore can be easily snorkelled and you share the water with plenty of other ocean loving people who swim, snorkel, kayak and paddleboard in this huge sandy bay. Under the water, bright orange Garibaldi fish stand out against the seaweed.
What we wanted to see the most was the Leopard Shark that famously congregate in this area, and whilst we did not have clear water or large numbers, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse. We also saw a couple of sea turtles grazing, rays resting on the sandy bottom and a host of fish patrolling the bay. We were surprised to be warm enough snorkelling in just our shorts and T-shirts – but you do have to be careful not to burn, so a thin wetsuit might have been a better idea.
La Jolla Cove is a sight to behold! Sea lions and humans in such close proximity, sunbathing on the beach and playing in the water together is something we have never encountered before. Here you can dive in the kelp to look for Seven Gill Sharks (alas we were not lucky this time) or stay in the shallows to play with the sea lions. As our hotel was just a short walk away from La Jolla Cove, we spent hours just snorkelling with these playful pinnipeds who seem completely unfazed by all the human activity around them.
La Jolla offers a range of fantastic places to eat and drink once you have had your fill of messing about in the water. If you are a craft ale fan, then you are in for a real treat, with several bars offering a huge range of beers to try. We loved Absolution by the Sea and Karl Strauss. La Jolla had provided us with plenty of marine interactions and relaxing night-life, but all too soon it was time for us to move on and head north to Long Beach….
Paralenz Dive Camera
Olympus OMD EM-1 MKII; Nauticam housing; INON Z250 strobes
Images and text by Frogfish Photography
Jeff chats to… Christopher Bartlett, MD of Indigo Safaris, about scuba diving in Dominica and Mexico (3 of 5)
In the third in this exclusive series of five videos, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Christopher Bartlett, Managing Director of Indigo Safaris, about their diving and wildlife adventures, and some of their top destinations. In this episode Christopher talks about Dominica and Mexico.
For more information, please visit www.indigosafaris.com
Rather listen to a podcast? Click on this link to listen HERE.
Diving with… Pablo Calderon Cadiz, Takata Experience, Mahaual, Mexico
In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
Pablo Calderon Cadiz
What is the name of your business?
What is your role within the business?
Owner / General Manager
How long has the business operated for?
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
I have been diving for 16 years; I am a PADI IDC Staff Instructor
What is your favorite type of diving?
I really enjoy all types of dive but deep dives and dives with crazy topography are by far my favourites.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We are a dive center and also a research center, so we merge both into one big idea. When you dive with us you also benefit the reef, as we put part of that money into our restoration program. We are also one of the only dive centers in the world that has a full research center working together with us. That’s why our official hashtag is #Divewithpurpose
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
My favorite dive in Mahahual is Piratas, because of the beautiful topography and the amount of big animals you can see, such as turtles, manatees and sharks.
What types of diving are available in your location?
One of the best things about Mahahual is that there are dive sites for all levels, from shallow reefs with beautiful life to walls that can go down to 150 meters within 5 minutes from the shore. You can always choose what you want, if you are looking for biodiversity, topography, shallow sand patches or very deep walls, we have them all.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
The diving industry is an industry that is constantly evolving and from my role I am able to always bring that to Takata. I am always looking for ways to create a solid business culture, to make sure the people that work for us can always develop themselves from a professional perspective, but also from a personal one. We have created many different programs that are unique to us, where we merge the dive and research center. All that is possible because I can take those decisions. To see how your dream becomes true is the biggest reward ever.
What is your favorite underwater creature?
Sharks are my number 1, and if I can be more specific, Hammerheads!!!
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
I feel that many dive centers in the world don’t know yet what makes them unique, so the way for them to attract people is to charge very low prices, sometimes that is very difficult, because the one that is next to you can charge 30% less than you for the ¨same service¨. I believe we should always find what is unique to us and to create a value on it. We should all focus on the professionalization of our industry.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
As I mentioned before, we have a full research center, our director has 2 master degrees and our 2 biologist both have PhDs. Actually our research center was name as Actor for the UN Decade On Ecosystems Restoration for the next 10 years.
Our research center works together with the Mexican government to ensure a sustainable development in the area and to implement big scale conservation and restoration projects in Mahahual.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
As we are a new company, there are always exciting thing coming our way, in these years we became an IDC center, UN partners, we did a small hotel and we are looking forward to develop our research center even more. We would like to become the biggest research center in Mexico which is very ambitious and to become leaders in diving, restoration and everything that involve costal ecosystems. We dream big because we love what we do.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
I think the industry is doing ok but not great. For sure freediving has grown a lot in the last 10-15 years. There are several organisations around the world who do great work, but we need more people and businesses looking to do the exceptional. Sometimes talking with diving friends around the world, we all agree that this is probably one of the few industries where the prices we charge are the same or even cheaper than 5 or 10 years ago. We urgently need to proprofessionalize the industry and put the correct value on our product and services.
Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
If you guys are looking for a unique immersive experience where you can mix your passion for diving with deep understanding of marine and costal ecosystem, then we are your choice.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
You guys can follow us on IG: Takata.experience
Our website is: www.takataexperience.com