06 August 2009

June/July Wrap-up

So, I've been chastised (very mildly and justifiably) for not updating frequently enough. No surprises there! I only post when something interesting is going on; June and July brought us into the rainy season, so most of my time was just spent working and doing routine stuff.

I still haven't signed up for further surfing lessons, it took almost a month for my torn up ribs to heal up. I'm still planning to go back and do that, though.

I've taken a couple of trips in a rental kayak for three; once with my friends Keith and Karen and another trip with Se-yeong and 신채영 (Shin Chae-yeong) and 문원규 (Moon Won-kyu), two of her friends from the tourism society.

Satellite view of Songjeong Beach. You can see the submerged aquaculture gear in this photo, from the surface it's just a vast field of floats and lines going down. Click on the lines and pins to see descriptions. View Songjeong Beach in a larger map

The trip that Keith, Karen and I took was about one hour round trip and covered six kilometers: from Songjeong Beach to the Sea Dragon Palace Temple. It was a nice sunny day and the water was pretty smooth, although there was a stiff breeze that made navigating a straight line a bit of a pain in the butt.

We rented the kayak from a surf shop at Songjeong Beach (the same place that I took the surfing lesson from). It's a sit-on-top sea-kayak, a big hollow plastic thing with seats moulded into it. A giant pool-toy. Having given this thing a rigorous testing, I can say that in open water and heavy surf it is indestructible and easy to right (and easy to capsize if overloaded).

Above: a sit-on-top kayak similar to the one for rent at Songjeong Beach.
The DAG Tribal is probably a little more stable, though, from what I've read

The trip that Se-yeong, Chae-yeong, Won-kyu and I took last weekend was a little more 'exciting'. We got there late and had to wait for some Russian tourists to come back with the kayak. The wind was pretty strong and there were whitecaps and rollers in Songjeong Bay, we also had 4 people in a kayak designed for three (I didn't think this would be a big problem, I'm easily the heaviest and the flotation was fine). Keeping the kayak balanced was a bit of a nuisance but I didn't think too much of it.

We paddled out to an area where there are some sort of aquaculture pens (seaweed? shellfish? sea squirts? I have no idea). The wind and surf were cutting across the mouth of the bay, so as soon as we hit that spot we ran into some trouble. We capsized the kayak three or four times, righted it, got aboard again only to be swamped a few minutes later. There was a lot of panic every time a big wave came up (the swells were from 1 to 2 meters out in the open water) and the resulting movement would unbalance the boat and dump us in the water again.

We laughed the first couple of times, and then we were getting tired and a bit annoyed at repeatedly being dumped overboard. So, I decided I'd stay in the water at the bow and try to keep the kayak balanced from the water. This plan was pretty silly in hindsight, the kayak wasn't moving much, it just seemed to be drifting with the wind. I needed to get back into the boat and help Won-kyu with the paddling to get us back to the beach, he was paddling pretty hard while I was in the water but the extra drag was just too much. The girls would have been doing okay in calmer water, plus they were a bit nervous and unused to boat handling (a couple more trips and they'll be old hands at it, I'm sure.)

A guy came out on a jet ski and asked if we were okay, I was laughing and gesturing that we'd be fine. He said that he'd be keeping an eye on us (we never saw him again, I think he thought we were crazy. :p )

I finally managed to get back aboard and we kept the boat balanced by having the girls lie flat and stop panicking when they saw a big wave (they were getting pretty freaked-out, and I can't blame them, it was pretty rough). I started singing a few verses from The Ryans and the Pittmans and they began singing some Korean equivalent that I'm completely unfamiliar with, but the singing was all good. Once we managed to get back closer to shore, behind a headland, and out of the heavier swells, we made pretty good time back to the beach.

Somewhat shaky, exhausted and glad to be off the water we hauled our craft up on the beach and headed back to the surf shop to change and shower. We celebrated our successful non-drowning with fried chicken and pitchers of beer at one of the beachside bars.

Se-yeong, Chae-yeong and Won-kyu at the beachside tavern.
Mmm, beer, fried chicken and soondae!

An awesome day of adventure overall! Everyone was exhausted but in good spirits.

I told Se-yeong that our next adventure will be something indoors with shopping, but I think that I want to go rock-climbing. As long as my friends aren't afraid that I'm only trying to get them killed, that is. ;) (I should note here that Koreans, on the whole, are very hardy people. They remind me quite a bit of the folks from home. Used to rough living (by modern western standards), and newly accommodated to urban life.)

NB: I forgot to mention that three of us were stung by jellyfish during the adventure, but the rash was minimal and the plentiful exposure to seawater seemed to ease the suffering. The rashes and burns were pretty much gone by the time we finished our beer and snacks at the tavern.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds dangerous, but I don't like the rock climbing either!


e-mail notification

Google Groups Beta
Subscribe to Wandering Monk
Visit this group