Monday, September 13, 2010

Poem by Chai Ba-da

(Note: Ji-su translated this into English and Steve edited Ji-su's English translation.)


Challenge is something beautiful
Although there is failure, the challenge itself is beautiful
It is the mightiest courage god gave to man
What other gift is better?
It is the mountain of hope one follows in spite of the pain and challenge
Do not give up
To fulfill the dream, accept the challenge
Beautiful people accept challenge
The confidence will allow one to stand up again after the fall
Who will give more courage and happiness?
Man exists because of challenge
Challenge, challenge, and challenge again
For the great challenge

-Chai Ba-da


7,010,083 Won. The Jeju Big Swim received in donations.

3,519,093 Won. The Jeju Big Swim currently has in the bank.

3,490,990 Won. The Jeju Big Swim spent. This is how:

July 29th

050,000 phone Sherrin
100,000 phone Steve
150,000 phone Sung-mi
000,500 bank fee -Receipt
027,000 sun lotion -Receipt
088,560 E-Mart -Receipt

(416,060; 416,060)

July 30th

010,000 gas scooter

(10,000; 426,060)

July 31st

003,000 muffins -Receipt
005,300 fruit -Receipt
005,000 food

(13,300; 439,360)

August 1st

030,000 pot bing su -Receipt
040,000 galbi dinner -Receipt
003,000 food
010,000 gas scooter

(83,000; 522,360)

August 2nd

005,000 dry fruit -Receipt
004,430 yogurt -Receipt
030,000 Mrs. C

(39,430; 561,790)

August 3rd

045,000 samgyatang dinner -Receipt
020,550 Nonghyup grocery -Receipt
030,000 Sherrin's minbak
000,500 bank fee -Receipt
010,000 gas scooter

(106,050; 667,840)

August 4th

008,600 taxi
003,500 food
010,000 gas
014,790 food-Receipt
010,000 gas scooter

(46,890; 714,730)

August 6th

003,000 cake
026,000 lunch -Receipt
030,000 Sherrin's minbak
010,000 gas scooter

(69,000; 783,730)

August 7th

030,000 Sherrrin's minbak
016,000 guk -Receipt
005,600 breakfast -Receipt
000,500 bank fee -Receipt
008,960 Nonghyup grocery -Receipt
012,000 sun hats
007,760 food -Receipt
010,000 gas scooter

(90,820; 874,550)

August 9th

022,000 lunch -Receipt
060,000 Sherrin's minbak (2 nights)
001,700 PC Bang
017,100 food -Receipt
010,000 gas scooter

(110,800; 985,350)

August 10th

100,000 Seogwipo
005,700 Dunkin Donuts -Receipt
005,540 GS25 -Receipt
001,800 Family Mart -Receipt
010,000 samgyatang -Receipt
008,800 Paris Baguette -Receipt
005,000 fruit
020,000 doctor
010,000 gas scooter

(166,840; 1,152,190)

August 11th

030,000 Sherrin's minbak
010,000 doctor Sherrin -Receipt
004,300 doctor Sherrin -Receipt
003,000 bath
005,000 lunch -Receipt
006,000 gas scooter
015,000 taxi Mr. CBD -Receipt
050,000 overall transportation Sung-mi

(123,300; 1,275,490)

August 12th

030,000 Sherrin's minbak
004,300 doctor Sherrin -Receipt
039,460 E-Mart -Receipt
000,500 bank fee
050,000 phone Sherrin -Receipt
004,000 gimbap
013,300 food -Receipt

(141,560; 1,417,050)

August 13th

030,000 Sherrin's minbak
005,000 galbitang -Receipt
004,500 peaches
004,300 doctor Sherrin -Receipt
008,800 Family Mart -Receipt
014,400 Paris Baguette -Receipt
005,000 bakery
002,690 gas scooter
003,300 food

(77,990; 1,495,040)

August 14th

030,000 Sherrin's pension
001,500 Family Mart -Receipt
005,250 eggs, peaches -Receipt
005,600 Family Mart -Receipt
004,000 food bakery
006,000 T-Money -Receipt
205,000 business cards

(257,350; 1,752,390)

August 15th

030,000 Sherrin's minbak
003,200 bakery
014,540 food -Receipt
005,400 gas scooter

(53,140; 1,805,530)

August 16th

007,200 Paris Baguette -Receipt
010,900 Paris Baguette -Receipt
053,000 E-Mart
030,000 Sherrin's minbak

(101,100; 1,906,630)

August 17th

014,040 food -Receipt
001,000 Jungmun Beach shower

(15,040; 1,921,670)

August 18th

040,000 Sherrin's minbak
005,900 Paris Baguette
005,000 peaches
004,100 doctor Sherrin
001,000 gimbap
018,010 food -Receipt
005,950 gas scooter

(79,960; 2,001,630)

August 19th

035,000 Sherrin's minbak
025,000 dinner
022,260 Hanaro Mart
002,500 drinks
002,000 plastic bags
003,200 Sandasoo
050,000 Sherrin's minbak
004,900 taxi
016,000 food
003,500 GS25
026,350 Hong Mart
006,500 Paris Baguette
000,500 bank fee
005,500 PC Bang
002,400 GS25

(205,610; 2,207,240)

August 20th

007,000 sunglasses
004,600 taxi
002,900 Pocari Sweat
005,500 PC Bang

(20,000; 2,227,240)

August 22nd

005,000 buses
014,200 Paris Baguette
018,820 Hanaro Mart

(38,020; 2,265,260)

August 23rd

045,000 dinner
027,000 sea sickness patches
034,000 food
005,000 energy drinks
052,000 key shop
010,000 gas scooter

(173,000; 2,438,260)

August 24th

018,270 New World
040,000 fuel
034,000 fuel

(92,270; 2,530,530)

August 25th

004,300 doctor Sherrin
016,610 food -Receipt

(20,910; 2,551,440)

August 26th

015,000 doctor Sherrin
017,710 food -Receipt

(32,710; 2,584,150)

August 27th

001,400 doctor Sherrin
006,500 antibiotics Sherrin

(7,900; 2,592,050)

August 28th

167,460 LOOSE CASH
(Note: In Sherrin's possession at last report for finances, money will be either spent on The Jeju Big Swim related matters, or deposited back into the account.)

(167,460; 2,759,510)

September 3rd

005,320 food -Receipt
003,170 gas scooter

(8,490; 2,768,000)

September 6th

053,000 concert set-up meeting

(53,000; 2,821,000)

September 9th

300,000 last day set-up, food, concert

(300,000; 3,121,000)

September 13th

058,200 last day lunch for preparation

(58,200; 3,179,200)

September 19th

111,290 Sung-mi communication fee

(111,290; 3,290,490)


030,000 Sherrin's minbak
037,000 Lunch, August 8th -Receipt
010,000 Sung-mi transportation, August 8th
002,000 PC Bang 2 nights, August 8th
007,800 Food, August 8th -Receipt
015,210 Food, August 8th -Receipt
050,000 Food, September 4th and 5th -Receipts
048,490 LOOSE CASH
(Note: In Sherrin's possession at last report for finances, money will be spent on The Jeju Big Swim related matters, or deposited back into the account.)

(200,500; 3,490,990)



The last day!

Together with three Jeju lifeguards, the crew of 4 swam 3 kilometers from just east of Sarabong to Samyang Beach to hordes of media. Unfortunatly Sherrin wasn't able to swim the last 51 kilometers of the original planned route. An achievement nevertheless.

A concert marked the end of our journey.


Saturday, September 11, 2010


Although the sea and wind provided terrible swimming conditions, thus none took place, the kayaking conditions were ideal and I finished the last stretch out of a harbor more than 5 kilometers west of Iho Beach to Samyang Beach - a grand total of 19 kilometers from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

A BIG THANKS to Mr. Lee (bike shop owner) who facilitated the kayak getting in the water at the entry spot.

I have met some of the purest, most genuine people on Jejudo. Mr. Lee is one of them.

Sunday's plans are the same as stated in the entry for Sunday's plans. We are swimming the last 2 kilometers from Hwabuk Harbor to Samyang Beach, entry at 2 p.m., arrival at 3.

CONCERT IS AT 6 P.M.!!!! See below ...


Friday, September 10, 2010


Saturday, September 11, 2010: The kayak officially made it around the island.

There's something magical about kayaking alone for 19 kilometers in 3.5 hours, with the wind at my back, a strong tide carrying me forward, watching airplanes take off and land on the runway stretches adjacent to the sea, paddling past Tapdong, past Jeju City Harbor, and being greeted by a magnificent rainbow en route to a safe landing at Samyang Beach.


Sunday's concert at Samyang Beach (6 p.m.)

All are encouraged to attend this free concert to celebrate the conclusion of The Jeju Big Swim.

Who: Boos Music Records'
P to the Lee, Jaydi, and Mulan

Where: Samyang Beach, on the grass next to the Lighthouse restaurant

When: Sunday, 6 p.m.

What: a mix of new age, acoustic, electronic, peaceful, and popular music

Here are three video clips:


Environmental Notes ...

This is just my opinion:

Jeju happens to be, based on potential, I think, one of the most beautiful places in the world. "Potential" is the key word. In reality, I can't wait to get back to pure nature in the secluded mountains of the Blue Ridge, and am counting down the days.

Back to Jeju. There are two things (and an additional minor note), that Jeju could do in the future to live up to its slogan image of "The World Comes to Jeju, and Jeju Goes to the World." For the world (outside of Chinese, Japanese, and mainland Koreans) to come to Jeju, there have to be reasons. And, tourism may be the only thing Jeju has in the future.

The island has three main environmental positives: UNESCO sites of Hallasan, Seongsan Ilchulbong, and the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, many diverse beaches, and the ever popular Olle courses. The main problem is these are not environmentally pristine. They're dirty. However, this can be solved.

Jeju's beaches are definitely worth visiting. Each one offers something another doesn't. But, for world travelers to come and spend money, the beaches need to be clean and pristine. It can't be that hard for the government to invest money in infrastructure and equipment to make this a reality. Industrial sand sifters exist! And I've worked on smaller ones with an ATV having a pull-behind attachment 13 years ago out of high school working for my hometown's Department of Public Works at my local beach. This is not new technology. Having garbage cans at every beach, that are artistic and ergonomically fitting to the landscape are a must. It is possible to keep the beaches clean and year round! True there is going to be garbage washing up on the beach daily. It needs to be picked up every day before it becomes a part of the sand. Jeju could have a real slogan it could be proud to tout to the international (outside of the Asian region) audience, something like "Diverse and pristine, Jeju offers 30 of the world's best beaches." Word of mouth spreads fast.

Olle courses are fast becoming trendy. But pure nature outside of Korea doesn't have thousands of empty plastic bottles and plastic shards to offer reflective hikers. It would probably take thousands of people a long time to adequately clean the Olle trails to a level of international standards, where some day a European is going to tell their friends, "I spent one week hiking Jeju's Olle trails and I didn't see one piece of litter. The nature was incredible." Now that is a pipe dream. Too many people in a small space. Keeping the Olle courses clean is the biggest problem. Subtle, yet well thought out and placed refuse containers, are again, a must. I am fascinated how collectively prideful Korean people are, but, collectively, not about their own environment. The Olle courses may have to move toward some classier markers, as well.

The pit toilets at the UNESCO sites must go. You cannot ask a fat European man or a high-class debutante to honestly squat at a UNESCO site. If international tourists are what the island desires, international toilets (at least throne, pit toilets) are what it needs to provide. It's as simple as that. Also, there are enough horses on the island, calcium lime or its equivalent has to exist here. Have a worker spread it down at least once a week, preferably more. The UNESCO sites need to be clean. I've doubled over a few of the 100 or so times I have entered a pit toilet on Hallasan's hiking trails from stench.

I find oftentimes Jeju is like an American teenager. It has no identity. It's debating its next henna tattoo, or piercing, or sultry piece of clothing, yet with no thought to the future, just instant gratification. I've heard the cruel moniker "peasants with technology" label from international travelers. Rise up Jeju people. Take more pride in your land. Travel. Realize that Korea is less than 1 percent of the world's population and it may be shocking the other 99 percent may think a lot differently than you have been taught. Travel will reciprocally also offer an opportunity on how to improve the future of this island's tourism.

International tourists will come if there are reasons. Find ways to make this happen, instead of saying they are already here.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Saturday and Sunday's final stretch ...

We - Sherrin, Sung-mi, Ji-su, the vivacious Young-lim myself, and four other Koreans (named later), plus two other Koreans working close, but not directly, in the meeting space - were present Tuesday night to finalize plans for Saturday and Sunday.

It was Sherrin's 52nd birthday Tuesday and after the meeting, close by, we ate galbi tang at a "famous" Jeju restaurant.

On Saturday, Sherrin is going to drive me, the kayaker, to my last point of take out for re-entry and I will paddle to Iho Beach to meet the "New Jeju Swimming Crew" at 1 p.m., I believe.

From this point, weather permitting of course, Sherrin will swim from Iho to Dodu Harbor (a distance of 2.25 kilometers), and will relay off to Mr. Lee Jeong-hun from Dodu Harbor to Yongduam (4 kilometers), who will relay off to Ms. Park Hyeon-ha and Ms. Cho Yun-jeong from Yongduam to Tapdong (1.75 kilometers). Meanwhile, Mr. Kim Cheon-dae will be swimming all legs, the entire 8 kilometers. I will accompany for the duration.

All four members, apparently, are swimming for the Jeju City Hall Swimming Club, although Mr. Kim is the president of the Jeju Sea Swimming Club. All four are lifeguards. On Sunday, we will all get in the water just east of Sarabong and head to Samyang Beach arriving between 2 and 3 p.m.

A concert is scheduled for 6 p.m., - everyone is invited!


Sunday, September 5, 2010


I went from Chagwido Harbor to Gwakji Beach (23 kilometers) on Saturday afternoon/evening, and bright and early Sunday morning I managed another 11 kilometers from Gwakji Beach to a harbor a few kilometers west of Iho Beach.

If The Jeju Big Swim was a novel, the storyline is basically complete and it could be sent off to the publisher's press in a few days.

There are just a few more small chapters to write about Saturday's journey and Sunday's arrival and concert at Samyang Beach.

Everything that follows - whether it be extra money support for environmental action or education, additional media attention, or another repeat attempt next year (with different characters, I presume) - is for now, a future addendum or an entirely new story to be written.

The climax of this current adventure was our arrival at Chagwido Harbor on August 23rd. After 11 days of inactivity, Sherrin, myself, and Sung-mi met KCTV at 12:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon for a television news story before I paddled solo turning the northwest corner of the island.

A solemn, peaceful, non-stop cruise into Gwakji Beach awaited me for a bit more than 5 hours. I wish I had the pictures of this stretch, but words will have to do. And I was so far offshore, there was really nothing worth taking a decent picture of coming up to Biyangdo while passing Jeolbuam,Yongsu-ri, Yongdang-ri, Geumdeung-ri, and the tandem, white-sand beauts of Geumneung and Hyeopjae beaches. I continued and went by Ongpo-ri, Hallim Port, Hansu-ri, Suwon-ri, and Gwideok-ri. Just getting by Hallim Port, a police boat cruiser came in close, and shouted "Hana?" (meaning One?") I gave an affirmative grunt. One minute later, one of the two deficient English-speaking officers yelled, "Hey!" and gave me a thumbs up.

Under dusk, Gwakji Beach appeared and I landed at the most eastern stretch of sand, set up the tent, made some phone calls and texts, and worried about getting up at 6 a.m., to continue onward.

I made my way to the off-beach center of makeshift markets and found Pocari Sweat, cheese and crackers, and corn chips, as the older male owner was dutifully being served dinner by his wife. I hope young Korean women realize this is not how it works in the rest of the industrialized, non-Confucian world.

I tried to get some sleep in the lumpy sands of Gwakji, but was beset by other problems of the distant cell phone ringtones blaring the most intelligent Korean pop music, fireworks, and soju-fueled arguing. I thought to myself there must be more to life than this. Immediately, I was more homesick than I had ever been in the last two years. Sleep occurred at some point.

Awoke about 6 a.m., off in the kayak before 7, and struggled east. On my right was the picturesque coast road between the beach and Hagwi, where I was forced to stop at the harbor due to an oncoming strong wind and the tide going in the wrong direction. I called Sherrin and Sung-mi about 11:15 a.m. They picked me up and took me to Iho Beach to film for a KBS-produced show to air the following weekend.


Nearly There.....

The Jeju Big Swim reached Chagwido on August 23rd. Since then, work commitments, inclement weather, a nasty infection in my foot (that has now moved to my knee) and the difficulties of maintaining such a high level of fitness now I'm back at school, has meant that Steve kayaked by himself this weekend to get as far as [a few kilometers west of Iho Beach] - that's a huge [34] kilometers! (He's kayaking, so I get to blog!)

Our plan to finish The Jeju Big Swim is for me to meet Steve at Iho Beach next weekend and together, in company with a group of Jeju lifeguards and swimming instructors, swim the relatively easy final stretch back to Samyang Beach, arriving some time in the afternoon. The Jeju Big Swim will finally wrap up with live music on the beach starting about [6 p.m.]

We hope all our supporters will come along and party.

We are still working out the details and logistics, but we'll update here as it all comes together.

- Sherrin Hibbard

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Phase 2 is in the planning stages.

My thoughts:

The most important thing. The goal – one of many – is to raise environmental awareness. How is that going to happen? It already has, but two main ideas: 1) I just finished balancing the books and as a team, we have only spent what our main sponsor, The World Environment and Peace Summer School, has given us – 2,500,000 – and what was donated in-house (200,000) from team members. Translation: We have more than 4,000,000 Won in The Jeju Big Swim bank account, which is EVERYONE’S donation, from KCTV’s 1,000,000 to Gwaneumsa’s healthy offering, to the 10,000 given to us on the Seogwipo docks. It’s all there and we have bandied the idea of using 100 percent of the money toward environmental educational program(s). 2.)

How to finish? We are having a meeting tonight (Thursday), and will work out the logistics. We are getting a relay team – including members from the Jeju sea swimming club – all Koreans, I believe. The more people involved, the better. The more Koreans involved, better times two. The more Jejudo Koreans involved, better times three. Relay is really open for interpretation. One person may swim 1 kilometer, the next 2 kilometers, any amount, in any order toward completion. Maybe during the last stretch, we can get all the participating relay members, led by Sherrin, to swim into Samyang the last 1 or 2 kilometers together.

Health. Personally, for the swimmer (and kayaker), finishing the project, as stated above, retains our overall health.

One more thanks. Our last donation that came in was from Kim Kyoung-ho. Thanks for the support. While relaying this information in an e-mail, Ji-su wrote, "Bless this man. Really."