Udo Diving Women

Originally uploaded by katevsnow.
The next day we set out from our little yogwan at Seongsan to the small island of Udo. It's known as 'Cow Island' because of the shape of it on the horizon looks like the back of a buffalo emerging from the water. The island is very relaxing and rural, with a total population of only 1750.
On Udo there is a small community of haenyeo, Jeju-do's famous diving women who collect shellfish from the depths of the south sea. There have been several generations of these women on the island, whom often work until they reach the age of seventy. They use no scuba gear (only wetsuit, face mask, net, gloves and a basket) and are able to hold their breath for over two minutes and dive to depths of over 65 feet.
Justin and I rented bicycles for three hours to peddle the flat neatly paved road which circled the island. The beaches of Udo were starkly white, ranging from rough coral to smooth sand.
We caught up a group of haenyeo taking a lunch break near the lighthouse on the north side of the island. They were friendly and let me take their picture, as I'm sure many other tourists had before.
The east side of the island is the'head of the buffalo', the highest point of the island, and is thus very un-bikeable. So, after a couple hours of biking, we thought we shold be able to cross the island to head back to the starting point of the ferry dock. We chose an inland road and biked uphill for aways through small housing complexes with four foot walls built by black volcanic rocks. We paused up top to take in the view and suddenly saw a small Korean man appear from one of the houses. The small dog near his side started barking ferociously at Justin on his bike, while I stood behind them and took a great picture of the rabid little beast. The man did nothing to try and control his pooch and all but started laughing as we quickly rode away.


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