Every summer, pregnant female leopard sharks flock to La Jolla Shores to incubate their babies in the warm, calm waters. They are spotted like leopards and are around 4 feet long. They’re perfectly safe to swim with and there has never been a report of any human being bitten by one of these gentle sharks. Here are some tips for how to see leopard sharks in La Jolla.
Go during the right time of year
July – September is peak time for leopard shark sightings. They like warm water to incubate their babies so going during the summer in the afternoon on a sunny day is your best bet.
Take the right gear
Make sure you take snorkeling gear, a GoPro camera (if you have one), and a wetsuit. Although the wetsuit isn’t necessary, it keeps you warm and gives you some added buoyancy in the water. You can rent gear at a number of places in La Jolla, including La Jolla Swim and Sport.
Go to the right spot
The best place to spot leopard sharks is in front of the Marine Room restaurant at La Jolla Shores. Park as close to the Marine Room as you can and use the tiny shortcut alongside of the Marine Room to access the beach.
Check the conditions
You’ll want to check the tide and wave information before you go and you can do that at Surfline.com. You don’t want to go during high tide because there won’t be any sand or beach available to leave your towel and other belongings. You also don’t want to go if the waves are high. Stick with waves 0-2 feet.
Be patient and persistent
Finding leopard sharks is hit or miss. They might be plentiful one day and elusive the next. If you don’t see them during your first trip, you’ll just have to try again another day. You can even call Birch Aquarium and ask if they have seen any on a particular day during their snorkel tours. If they have seen the sharks during their snorkel tours that day, chances are you’ll see them too.
Relax and enjoy
Leopard sharks are nervous creatures around humans so relax and calmly float and swim until they come into view.
I hope you find these “how to see leopard sharks in La Jolla” tips helpful. Tell me about your experiences in the comments below!