Sharks, Sunshine, Shores and Smiles

SHARKS! As we all know, this has been a buzzword around San Diego and USD for a couple of months now. With the recent sightings at Mission Beach, Swami's and in La Jolla, who would dare to venture into the Pacific in search of these mystical creatures? The answer to that question is undoubtedly Outdoor Adventures.


Recently, Outdoor Adventures set out to La Jolla Shores with the Freshman Honors Living Learning Community(LLC) and the staff of the Women’s Center and United Front Multicultural Center (UFMC) for an off-campus afternoon exploring the Pacific Ocean. Groups of students were taken on kayak tours of La Jolla complete with Leopard Shark sightings, a view of the seven sea caves, a few splashes here and there, and a chance to paddle and kayak surf the beautiful waves. Other groups got an up close and personal view of the Leopard Sharks, skates, and stingrays with their snorkel, mask, and fins! While some enjoyed playing in the surf, others showed their athletic talents playing Frisbee and volleyball, while others got that San Diego tan they have been dreaming of for months. With trained adventure guides and all the right equipment, trips like this are hard to beat.

honors kayak outing

This outing is a prime example of the opportunities the Outdoor Adventures office offers right on campus. It is easy to get stuck in the beautiful bubble of the USD campus and forget the diverse and vast opportunities San Diego has to offer. Not very many, if any, universities offer students an opportunity to swim up to Leopard Sharks, which gather in La Jolla. It is unknown why the sharks occupy La Jolla shores, but scientists speculate that they are there to help themselves gestate in warm waters. These gray, spotted sharks can grow to be as big as seven feet long, but usually remain in the five feet range. Leopard sharks are completely harmless, bottom feeders and do not eat humans. La Jolla, for its unique wildlife, beautiful views, and unmatchable opportunities make it a just another reason why USD is the right place to be.

What made this day such a success is that while experiencing breathtaking views, enjoying the refreshing water, and engaging in outdoor activities, a community was being created. Community is a key goal here at USD and in Outdoor Adventures. Communities are built when people explore, adventure, learn, live, and are challenged together. When we are challenged to do something new or something that scares us, like swimming with sharks for example, we are able to grow and to gain new insights into ourselves and inevitably the people we are experiencing these things with. While students who took this adventure may not have even realize it now, by participating in this, they were constructing the onsets of their own USD community; a community that is fostering positive, healthy, and enjoyable activities and that is pushing people past the boundaries they may have set in the past. That is what we are all about here at Outdoor Adventures. Our trips are about giving people chances to see what this beautiful city has to offer as well as giving students opportunities to learn about themselves and meet people who could potentially be their friends for a lifetime.

— Katie Johnson '13

View a short kayaking video from the outing

View a collection of photos from the outing

honors kayak outing picture