Nestled in the coastline of La Jolla, San Diego, these are the intriguing and picturesque La Jolla Caves, often referred to as the 'Seven Sister Caves'.
May 14, 2019
The first of the seven caves was discovered in 1902 and was named Sunny Jim. Since then it has garnered attention from the locals as well as the holidaymakers, who visit La Jolla in throngs for its beaches and temperate climate.
The caves are not situated very far away from the La Jolla Cove, however, only Sunny Jim is accessible by land.
Rest of the six caves can be explored through a kayaking tour with an expert guide. The azure look of the water and the sound of the waves breaking on the cliffs is an experience in itself.
Each of the seven caves has a unique name. They are identified from east to west mostly for the convenience of the lifeguards and are named as White Lady, Little Sister, Shopping Cart, Sea Surprize, Arch Cave, Sunny Jim Cave, and Clam’s Cave.
The White Lady is named after a tragic incident. It is said that back sometime in the early 1800s, a young beautiful lady on her honeymoon in La Jolla had gone collecting seashells along the seashore and suddenly the tide went high sweeping her away.
The Little Sister cave is just sitting adjacent to the White Lady and appears like a smaller version of it.
The Shopping Cart signifies the shopping for lobster meat dishes, the only marine life that can be trapped in the season for food business in the area.
The Sea Surprize cave has 80 feet walking passage after the entrance and a beautiful view inside that can surprise the visitors. There are colourful marine lives and the walls of the cave have orange hues.
The Arch Cave has an impressive 12 meters high arch that gives it its name. It is the second largest of the seven caves despite its narrow entrance.
The name 'Sunny Jim' was given by Frank Baum, the author of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. This is because the entrance profile of the cave’s mouth, when seen from inside, resembled the cartoon mascot named Sunny Jim of a cereal brand called Force.
The Clam Cave bears a resemblance to a clam and hence the name. It is the largest of the seven caves.
Sunny Jimmy Cave
It is the only cave of the seven that can be accessed by land. Visitors can access the cave for a small fee at the Cave Store. There are 145 stairs that take the visitors in for a breathtaking view at the end.
Back in 1902, Gustav Shulz, a German Professor was intrigued by the caves and he hired labourers to dig a tunnel through the roof of the cave.
After 2 years of digging and shovelling, finally, a way to emerge out of the roof of the cliff was ready. Months later the wooden steps that are used to get down into the cave were built and an admission fee was levied.
Until the stairs were built, the early visitors used to get into the tunnel through a rope (how harrowing!).
Hiding Den of Pirates
The 1800s had seen a huge influx of immigrants to the United States from Asia and Europe which led to stricter immigration laws, due to which human smuggling became a thing in San Deigo and in the whole of United States.
These caves became a hiding den of the local pirates who would trade for cheap labour.
La Jolla Caves Formation
The caves that stand today at La Jolla shore are carved out of a 200-foot high Cretaceous-age sandstone cliff.
These caves are formed by the high tides and the powerful waves against the cliff over the years. The La Jolla Caves are nearly 75 million years old and are among the oldest geographical creation in the area.
If you are planning a trip to La Jolla, a kayaking trip to the caves is a must. Make sure that a local trained guide accompanies you throughout, as the tide can turn volatile and rough at times.
Never venture out into the sea on your own as it puts a huge risk on your safety. Enjoy the blue sea and the picturesque view of the cliffs and caves at La Jolla.