Snorkeling myth or reality
Most of the turtles we have seen off La Jolla have medium to dark brown shells. The individuals can grow to over 5 feet long and weigh upwards of 400 pounds. Our residents vary in size with the smallest being a cute guy around 15 lbs. The largest must weigh well over 200 pounds. We often see them along the sea cliffs. There are a couple that visited over the last couple years. We get to know them by the markings on their shells. But in the last year, we have had quite a few new visitors.
Lately, the best time of year to find our turtles is pretty much anytime. It used to be that late summer and early autumn was the best time. Because of the recent warm water phenomena we have had a least one or two around the entire year for the past two years. We are keeping or fingers crossed that they just decide to move here.
The best time of day to go is anytime the ocean is beautiful and calm. We have more sightings in the afternoons than mornings. But this may be due to the ocean being a bit clearer as the day goes on.
The best way to experience these guys is either freediving or just snorkeling at the surface. Since you are at the surface more, you have the opportunity to see them pop their head above the water. Or see them underneath. Once you find one of the residents, it is easy to swim with them or watch them eat. Their favorite food is the red kelp that grows along the bottom so keep an looking for this colorful plant.
The coolest thing about the green turtles is they are not afraid of people. Swimming through sea grass without a care in the world. Their proximity makes for an easy photo opportunity. There is nothing more exciting than to be swimming along with one. Either on the ground chomping away at the kelp, or swimming near the surface for a breath of air.
Over the last couple years, the population in La Jolla has grown. Encounters with turtles are becoming more frequent. So find a San Diego local who knows the secret spot. Grab your gear and get out there to experience our amazing friends for yourself.