Famous for its year-round sunshine and European charm, La Jolla features some of California's best surfing and diving."Not too long ago, I read something interesting in a magazine. Travel, ultimately, is an investment in memory," said Lisa Jover an extended learning and yoga student.

Famous for its year-round sunshine and European charm, La Jolla features some of California’s best surfing and diving.”Not too long ago, I read something interesting in a magazine. Travel, ultimately, is an investment in memory,” said Lisa Jover an extended learning and yoga student.

It put a bug in her head. She called her girlfriends to organize a quick getaway. Without arguments they selected their own responsibilities. One girl looked for an affordable accommodation, another found a surf shop and a third set up the diving. It was all done in a matter of hours.

“We all like to travel when it is less busy, so we decided on a Sunday till Tuesday getaway,” said Eo Ong, an accounting major. School hours definitely proved to be advantageous in this case.

They rendezvoused at Ong’s place Sunday morning, gathered their belongings into one car and hit the road.

About an hour later, when they finally left the smoggy city behind, their eyes gazed at a picture nature composed ever-so-perfectly. On the left, the mountain was covered with an array of yellow and purple flowers, with no human in sight. On the right, there was a commanding view of the California coastline. Palm trees set the beach mood, young and old, together laughingly splashed around in the water. “I loved our vacation already,” said Jover.

Ever wondered on the streets purposelessly, just for the sheer joy of it? The girls did. They explored several glass shops, an animal accessories store, furnishing and rug outlets, and clothing boutiques while wandering the seaside village of La Jolla. “As we walked through the streets, I felt we were really on a vacation. We blended with tourists from France, Italy, Scotland and Australia.”

“We just had to travel less to get to this charming place neighboring San Diego,” said Ong.

They have booked surf lessons at San Diego’s number one surf school, Surf Divas. Recognized worldwide as the first all-girls surf school, Surf Diva introduces students of all ages to the sport and spirit of surfing since 1996.

The instructor, Australian competitive surfer Josh Fuller set a fun and encouraging mood right away.

The girls practiced on oversized, foam-covered boards in the sand for a few minutes, rehearsing how to stand up when they caught wave, and off they went.

Jover went first and stood up seemingly effortless when Fuller gave her the signal. Then it was Ong’s turn to try.

“Just as I felt the push on my board, I excitedly grabbed the front, pulled up my legs, arched and balanced as I straightened my back. I was standing and riding the waves. I could not believe that it was that easy,” Ong recalled.

The one hour lesson seemed to pass by in five minutes. The girls experienced something extraordinary and life changing. According to them, their body and soul felt completely happy.

“There is nothing like riding on a piece of plastic board while the wind is blowing one’s hair, and the sun is stroking one’s face for a moment before splashing into the ocean with a happy scream,” Fuller said.

After a hearty dinner, some wine and a short stroll through the village, the divas retired relatively early to recoup for next day’s scuba diving excursion.

For a dive that’s easy to access, La Jolla Cove is a can’t-miss. Just behind the seaside village, steps lead into the Pacific Ocean showcasing the underwater world.

La Jolla Cove is an ecological preserve, which means no harm can be done to any plant or animal within it. The wildlife seems to know this and the Cove is always teeming with marine life.

California has something that no other ocean has to offer: it’s fast growing, abundant kelp forest. Swimming through the kelp forest is often compared to hiking through Yosemite National Park.

Marine life includes sheep-head, halibut, horn shark, lobster and of course California’s state marine fish, the bright orange Garibaldi.

The girls’ dive was outstanding. A short swim across the sand took us to a small reef crowded with tiny silver fish. The average depth was around 15-30 feet, providing great snorkeling opportunities to those who are not ready to submerge just yet.

“As I looked up, I saw swimmers viewing the divers below. They were curiously checking out what were we looking at a few feet under them,” said Jover.

La Jolla is a world famous dive site, provides great surfing, while also offering quiet time under the palm trees for those who prefer a more relaxed vacation. With its coastal location, extraordinary environment and European charm, La Jolla provides the ideal destination for travelers.

Eo Ong is riding the waves during her surf class in San Diego on Aug. 4. (Jeremy Balan)

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