Sunday, August 1, 2010


In no particular order, Day 1's musings:

"You should be taking pictures." These were Sherrin's words about 15 minutes after leaving Samyang Beach while members from the Samyang Windsurfing Club circled around us. Easier said than done. I grabbed my Olympus digital camera out of two Ziploc bags, and out of two cases, turned it on, had to clean the memory card (with a dry cloth), took a few shots, was completely disoriented while trying to paddle and put the camera away. My only chance to take pictures will be while Sherrin is grabbing a drink of water from the kayak. Ditto for the cell phone.

Sea of white plastic. Just west of Sinchon, there is a huge patch of white plastic garbage strewn across the black rock shore maybe for a one-fourth of a kilometer stretch. Unsightly. Sherrin was flying past, so no pictures.

Police boat hiding spot. Tucked in close just east of the Samyang power plant is a large police vessel. We saw the large ship once before during a training swim. No activity from the boat this time. During training two months ago, there was an officer on ship with binoculars checking out Sherrin's swimming stroke. I hope he wasn't ogling me.

Transfer from squid boat to kayak. Dangerous. Not smart. Next to the squid boat, the KBS crew offloaded all our gear from the front of the kayak into the boat, and the cameraman jumped in the kayak first and was handed his very pricey HD camera. I have no problem with this, but I'm a big person, and the cameraman even bigger. Fifteen minutes into filming from the kayak, Sherrin stopped for water and commented: "You guys are low in the water." No shit. I was glad for the cameraman's safety and his camera when we got him back on the squid boat.

Leaky hatch. Because of the aforementioned episode, there was a lot of water in the kayak, above the hatch, both in the front and back. There are two holes each front and back to allow for more stability of the kayak, while traveling. It sits lower in the water. After docking at Sea Blue, I opened up both hatches and my towel and change of clothes were waterlogged. I'm going to plug all four holes today, ride the kayak high and dry, and that will prove the hatch covers aren't the best or need to be secured a bit better when opening and closing. Translator Ji-su thought it was funny that I was wiping my face off with a wet towel.

Chai Ba-da at the sendoff. Poet and taewoo extraordinaire wrote and read a poem before we left Samyang on Saturday. Inspirational. We are getting it translated and will post it soon.

Heat index. I knew this voyage was going to be hot, but when I start my first night of camping after docking at Sehwa Beach on Monday night, I am going to be filthy, basting in my own sweat. And, I don't care how much sunscreen I slap on, my arms and legs are going to be covered starting Day 2. The next day's burn is more painful than the current's day discomfort of avoiding the burn.

Dinner with Fred. This is the first time I have met Fred or even seen the man. The owner of Sea Blue - inundated with customers - came over and gave the old man a playful belly rub after dinner, as the Maze Park owner snacked on Hallasan 100 cigarettes. Good people. Only in Korea!

Actros is my Korean kayak. I just want it known I bought the new kayak from a Korean kayak maker, Actros, about 3 months ago, perhaps the only Korean kayak company, and it should have a vested interest in it safely making it around Jeju. This is the first kayak I have been in that contains dry storage space. Actually, that is more worrisome, because I constantly have to worry about water getting in there. Too much is a bad, bad thing. I purposely filled it almost half full during training and could paddle for at least an hour, before draining it on shore.

One-way communication. When Sherrin and I are out moving in the water, she yells at me and I hear. Because she has a cap on and in the water, my yelling is not heard. I'm just talking to myself. Peaceful.


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