The Cove - Located on the ocean, La Jolla
Cove is less than a half-acre parcel of beach-park protected
from the waves by protruding rock formations.
Takeoff Rock - A conglomeration of boulders
stretching from inside the Cove and arcing out around its mouth
provide wonderful tidepooling opportunities at low tide. The
outermost boulder is a barely submerged, flat-top rock called
Takeoff Rock. You can often see people poised atop it as though
they are magically standing on water.
Alligator Head - This tip of land marks
the northwest boundary of the Reserve. To reach Alligator Head,
swim seaward from inside the Cove and round the bend to the
left. Facing west from a distance, the slabs of rock form a
profile likeness of an alligator in repose staring out to sea.
Emerald Cove - Swimming seaward out from
the cove, bearing right (you will be heading east) to reach
this rocky cove. Swim almost up to its shore and look toward
the knoll on the left. There you will see a large opening called
Swim-Through - At first glance this structure
looks like a cave, but it is actually swim-through. Enter only
when water is calm to avoid turbulent conditions within. Emerge
carefully out the other side, which is directly under Goldfish
Goldfish Point - This small knoll was named
for the numbers of garibaldi or "ocean goldfish" observed
in the waters below. The outer end of this knoll is frequented
by jumping and diving enthusiasts who make the 30-foot leap
into shallow waters directly outside the Swim-Through. (Goldfish
Point can also be reached by land. Just hike down from the Shell
Shop on Coast Boulevard.) Continue your swim around the knoll
to the right to reach the caves.
The Caves - Seven tidal caverns, believed
to have been created by wave action and mineral reaction over
time, convene at the base of rugged 300-foot cliffs. Sunny Jim,
the first cave you reach, was named for a popular 1890s comic
strip character who had a Kewpie-style topknot of hair. Looking
out from inside the cave you can see a silhouette resembling
Sunny Jim. Sunny Jim is also the cave to which steps descend
from within the Shell Shop above. Each cave has its own personality,
so explore them all when the water is calm. Just beyond the
seventh cave you will come to the Devil's Slide.
Devil's Slide - Beginning at the small
crescent-shaped, rocky beach just past the easternmost cave,
Devil's Slide bends northward following the stretch of coastline.
The name describes the large expanse of crumbling cliffs hovering
overhead. Continue hugging the coast to remain in shallow, reefy
water that winds its way to La Jolla Shores, where it ultimately
gives way to sandy beach.
copyright 1994 Judith Lea Garfirld
San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve: A
Field Guide, page 10