Monday, August 16, 2010


So many thoughts, so little time. Here are a few of them:

Haenyeo wetsuit. Sherrin officially switched suits today. The water was getting icier the further south we went, and she begrudgingly -because it takes so long - slapped on her haenyeo wetsuit, before it tore. Here is Eugune and Sherrin piecing it together with black, rubber cement before getting in the water out of Wimi.

100 kilometers, 100 people. For every kilometer we pass, we equally have as many people to thank. And for the next 100 kilometers, I'm sure we will have another 100 people to thank. I don't know where to start, so might as well start from the man on top.

Eugene. He's simply known to me as Jeju's Jesus, and I'm not religious. I can't find a smarter man than Eugene. He continually proves it with his postings on rhymeswithjeju and he's got a solid heart, helping us numerous steps along the way. His best advice yet was to make my cell phone water sealed with the use of two condoms.

Woojong. Here's a message (edited) from a family we met at Seongsan and accompanying picture: "Hi, Steve. Thanks for the reply. Here's the picture. I think you are very tired and exhausted. I explained the aim of the project to my children. You made me think nature must be clean and it costs effort. When I was swimming and snorkeling in Kimnyeong Beach, I found an empty bottle in the sea so I took it out of the water, just to follow the meaning of the project. I believe people will change somehow, maybe it will take awhile. But, Cheer up! Woojong.

Liberated Jejudo women. They're hard to find. Anyone who really knows me, knows of the nonsense ultra-conservative encounters - three in particular - I've had in the past year. So, it is refreshing to work with three people that are apart of The Jeju Big Swim, who are both liberated and native daughters of this island. I'll give an individual shout out to each, starting with the oldest first. Why I write is because they are able to keep my sanity throughout this project.

Young-lim. Words can't describe Young-lim. They wouldn't do her justice. She's our Korean documentary filmmaker. She's traveled a lot. And, speaks of her own people, honestly. When I think of Young-lim, I think of the Mark Twain quote: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." Auntie Young-lim, if only you were 20 years younger ...

Sung-mi. She wants to make a movie about Young-lim. I agree. And, like the previous woman, has also traveled. Sung-mi also said, after a glass of wine and really very little sleep the past few nights, she would like to have 10 children. But, none of those children would be allowed access to Young-lim, since, as she put it, Auntie would be a bit too energetic, high-spirited, zesty, loud, and outspoken. Sung-mi is doing a million things for the project, also making a film and taking a lot of pictures. It's strange having all these different beautiful Korean women taking pictures of us during the project. This certainly wouldn't happen in the United States. I hate cameras.

Ji-su. The translator, who is about to have her jaw wired shut for possibly two weeks. Imagine cynical Ji-su not being able to talk for that long? She has become a de facto spokesperson for The Jeju Weekly, the island's one and only English newspaper. It should be illegal for a person so young to be armed with such biting sarcasm. A traveler, as well. She is dutifully keeping the Korean blog up-to-date and using urban dictionary as much as needed.

Who are all these media people? The interest is growing. We have no less than 5 persons or groups to meet with tomorrow morning at Seogwipo Bridge between 8 and 9 a.m. I'll be looking ripe, probably wearing one of two outfits I've been sporting the last 17 days.

Last thanks to Ralf and Ok-sun. I write this from Big Blue 33 Dive Shop in Seogwipo. I'm sleeping in their Dive Shop tonight, and ready for what the next day brings.


1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the rest of the swim! It was great to meet you yesterday at Big Blue 33 and hear another Aussie voice. Congrats on what you have achieved and best wishes for the journey ahead.

    Kate & Brendan