Jeju: The beauty and the pain Part II

26 Oct

and now for part two of my trip to Jeju…………..(Part I)

Missing skin, broken nails, and exhausted muscles – Your first time trying to breath underwater should be stress free. Most people learn to scuba dive in a swimming pool or shallow area of the beach. If they are lucky they have an instructor who is calm and makes them feel safe. That was not my experience.

Continuing on with the theme of possible death by drowning, we decide to go to scuba diving. We choose to do the “Discover Scuba” as we have no previous experience and very little time.

Munson Island, Baby Rock, South Korea, Jeju, scuba diving

Guess which one is called "baby"?

It might be called Baby Rock but at the risk of making a really cheesy joke – it is definitely not for babies. Unfortunately, when it comes to jumping into the ocean in full scuba gear a big baby is exactly what I am – Waah! Waah! The instructor tells me that this island is not an easy place for a first-timer, but apparently there are not many options around South Korea.
My first time is absolutely awful and I am hardly underwater. Getting out is easier than getting in, but I still have to climb up these wet rocks with all this gear on. On my second dive I am given a different instructor and it is a world of difference. He is calm, he always makes sure I am okay, and I feel safe. A few feet below the surface the water is calmer and things are quieter. The fish swim right up to us and eat the food from my hand like it’s a threat, jabbing at it with their mouths and then quickly pulling away. Then they sing “Part of your World” from The Little Mermaid. Okay, they don’t sing, but that song is definitely being telepathically transmitted to my brain by something or someone.
Baby rock, Munson Island, Jeju, South Korea, scuba divingI have to keep telling myself not to worry that about the fact that I could stop getting air somehow and not be able to get back up in time. I am fairly successful with convincing myself  and we make it down at about 26 ft (8m), and I want to go deeper, but there isn’t any time. I definitely can’t wait to try scuba diving again, I just won’t do it in Korea! Between the time I manage to get my suit on, make my dives, and return to the shop, little bits of skin from my top knuckles are torn off, my fingernails are broken and I accept the fact that I have little to no upper body strength. All in all a good day!Baby rock, Munson Island, Jeju, South Korea, scuba diving

Severe sunburn – Our final day on Jeju we headed straight for the beach. Halim beach is supposed to be great for snorkeling, but had no shops that I could find selling masks. Interesting. My advice is to get there as early as possible and have the beach to yourself. Most people won’t show up until the afternoon.
I am a sucker for translucent glassy water, and I am so happy to finally be able to relax and enjoy the beach. I love swimming and want to stay as long as possible.
Halim Beach, Jeju, South Korea, beach We arrive and are immediately taken in by the turquoise glint of the ocean. A few hours go by and I won’t get out for anything. My friend yells to me from her spot on the sand, “Are you bored yet?” Not hardly! My face is really hurting, but it must be the saltwater or something – I am wearing SPF 50 after all. I just keep swimming and taking pictures with my new underwater camera. I’m having a blast, and it is so lovely and peaceful here but we have a plane to catch. Besides,  I’m beginning to realize it’s not the saltwater that’s making my face hurt – it’s just the worst flesh-eating sunburn of my life!

I didn’t know it at the time, but I probably could have guessed this would be the worst sunburn I had ever had in my life. My face was covered in blisters and completely swollen. Then came the  scabs and peeling – somehow almost no one seemed to notice my resemblance to a certain Mr. Kruger, but I’m sure they were just being polite. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this horror but trust me there are some things you just can’t unsee.

This is not meant to deter you from visiting Jeju, it’s just my way of organizing the events of our trip. The island is by far one of the best places to visit in Korea. Jeju is not just a beautiful place with great food, a fascinating geological history, and a range of different activities to suit everyone, but it also shows you a very different side of Korea. One where things are bit slower and you’re less likely to see the ajummas watching TV on their cellphones, but they’ll still knock you out of their way should you foolishly try to get in it.


Jeju,seaweed, South Korea

Baby rock, Munson Island, Jeju, South Korea, scuba diving

Halim Beach, Jeju, South Korea, beach

Halim Beach,  Jeju, South Korea, beach

Halim Beach, Jeju, South Korea,

Halim Beach, Jeju, South Korea, beach

Halim Beach, Jeju, South Korea, beach

As always there are more pics on my flickr page!





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4 Responses to “Jeju: The beauty and the pain Part II”

  1. leek October 28, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    yay for mentioning the little mermaid!!

    • admin October 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      and the crazy part was I wasn’t the only one!

  2. Amy J. November 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Okay, I have to admit that the way you write makes me feel like I am having a conversation with you. It is very Nathaniel Hawthorne of you, for I read something by him that made me feel the same way. Your personality shines throughout this piece and I literally cringed at the imagery that described such a terrible sunburn. I guess the moral of that incident is to either wear SPF 1000 or add more sunscreen every half of an hour if you are hanging at a beach in Jeju. By the way, you should have broken into choreographed song after scuba diving. “Part of Your World” would be an excellent choice and maybe it would have inspired the sea life to follow with “Under the Sea?”

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