La Jolla Shores is a popular beach located near San Diego. Besides being a great spot for teaching scuba, it is also very popular with many local and visiting divers. Although it doesn’t have the most beautiful underwater topography, it does have a nice variety of fish and invertebrate life living in and on its sand and mud bottom.
There seem to be creatures that you can almost always find at home here, like various nudibranchs and other invertebrates such as crabs or shrimp. There are also fish like the ever-present variety of gobies and blennies to the pugnacious little sarcastic fringehead!
Occasionally, the undersea world of La Jolla Shores will host visitors from out of town or the surrounding areas that you don’t see too often. It may be squid spawn in the winter months (which sadly doesn’t always happen) or even a giant sea bass may decide to pay a brief visit, or like last year the arrival of hordes of Melibe leonina nudibranchs that covered a small patch of kelp plants.
This time the event is the return visit of the “Fried Eggs,” which happens from time to time. Some may wonder what I mean by fried eggs being in the waters off La Jolla Shores. Informed divers know I’m talking about the beautiful “Fried Egg Jelly” (a name given to it because its bell looks somewhat like a fried egg) or Phacellophora camtschatica.
This year I started hearing through the local divers grapevine that these jellies were showing up again and I couldn’t wait to experience this treat again. Most of these beautiful invertebrates are a golden orange-yellow in color; some small ones may even be a milky white color. The tentacles can be 20 feet or even longer. In low visibility a diver may swim into or spot the white tentacles long before seeing the bell. The sting from them is usually mild, but getting them on the face and lips can be uncomfortable to say the least, and some people may react differently to the sting. Among these jellies can sometimes be found small symbiotic crabs and amphipods. Even small fish can also be found in and around this jellyfish. These and other infrequent visitors are always a welcome treat to divers at “The Shores.”