Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Nine straight hours in grueling heat from Seogwipo Harbor to Jungmun Beach:

This was Day 18 of The Jeju Big Swim for Tuesday, August 17, 2010.

Having gone completely through Seogwipo Harbor and around Saeseom the previous day, we launched where we left off, under the bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers style - at 8:45 a.m.

My internal worries bounce from day to day, but today's included Sherrin's health, and later on, my mind.

When we had everything loaded in the kayak and ready to go, she literally couldn't stand up and while sitting on a rock, refused to change positions for a camera media interview. In the water, and in a haenyeo wetsuit, she started and ever so slowly, we moved west.

Luckily for me, the sea was calm and Sherrin was swimming at a slow pace, so I was on cruise control the first leg, or "on tour" as a Korean may say, witnessing these sites from a distance on my right, The Shell Fossils of Seogwipo Formation, Oedolgae (location for MBC's famous Daejanggeum, which I happen to know nothing about), Dombaenanggol, Mangbat, Maluk, Beophwan Inlet, and the Jeju World Cup Stadium, and on my left Beomseom - before resting at Gangjeong Harbor, site of the controversial, yet, on hold construction-wise, military base.

Inside, the heat index was through the roof on the concrete slipway for lunch, and the heat did not subside throughout the day.

Out of the harbor, our halfway point, we decided we were going to make it to Jungmun Beach. Our tidesman, the night before, said definitely go outside of the reef lighthouse because of the shallow water. As the water was calm, I went straight through hopefully saving Sherrin some much needed time and energy. The kayak got hung up on some rocks at least three times in gentle whitewater, but we fought through and continued west.

Sightseeing, as best I could, while Sherrin earned every passing meter, we went by Weolpyeong Scenic Seashore, Yakcheonsa, Daepo Inlet, Jeju Jungmun Daepo Jusangjeollidae, and the ICC (the Jeju International Convention Center), trying to stay in sight of the whizzing Jeju Jet speedboats and rogue parasailing metal boats.

With the Coast Guard vessel in the distance and up close, two members tandemly on a waverunner, we were escorted into the beach.

Finally, at 5:45 p.m., with Chai Ba-da passionately preaching over the area's loudspeaker, telling the beachgoers about our project and random Koreans cheering, we landed through the crashing waves. Nine hours, 15 kilometers, pacing at more than 1.5 kmph.

Oh, but the day had just begun. And it was 6 p.m.


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