The dive shop that Mr. B frequents has become like a second home to the both of us. We look forward to the ocean breeze on our faces and in our hair. The escape of letting the crowded city and everyday stress behind. Catching up with friends that have become like family to the both of us. It’s deeply cherished and has absolutely become a big part of our lives.
It was a special weekend as we were invited back to the opening of the shop for another year of diving. The shop’s opening ceremony kicked off with paying respects to their ancestors, Korean rice wine flowing, and a big ol’ BBQ with copious amounts of food being served (Thank’s again for grilling Jeff). It was surreal to look around that night under the big tent and realize that we didn’t all speak the same language, we didn’t come from the same countries, but everyone there all held the same passion for diving and that made everyone one in the same in that moment.
EEK! I’ve been totally slacking on this blog lately! Thank you for your patience during my brief lull. I swear I’m back and refreshed and I have to say it was kind of nice to be disconnected from technology and not whip my camera out for a few weeks! Sometimes you just need that, don’t you agree?
Soooo… before getting into all the holiday jazz. What’s been going on lately in our world? Well, we took the KTX (Fast Train) from Seoul to Busan where Mr. B scuba dove in the Busan aquarium tank with sharks, sea turtles and goliath grouper. It was just as exciting for me to watch and snap away outside of the tank as he bubbled by for two hours.
Over Memorial Day we spent a wet and wild weekend on the shores of a wonderful little island of Cebu, in Moalboal, located in the Philippines. The location isn’t very touristy, it was just our style. Most resorts in the area cater to Scuba divers, so entertainment is very laid back and there are next to no night clubs. You can relish in the fact that a cold beer is less than 45 Pesos in most bars, or about 50 cents in US Dollars.
While Mr. B dove with our friend Chris, I spent most of my time snorkeling, and relaxing on a rather magical porch, sunning, reading and of course…sipping on something fruity and refreshing. Just look at the view! The sea lapping right up to our little porch, pleaseeee take me back!
On the last day of our trip we all went sight-seeing around the island, swam with whale sharks, and experienced a “natural” massage at the Kawasan Falls, and ate halo-halo the Filipino dessert made from UBE (purple yam) . Experiences I will never ever forget!
We are aching to get back to the coast again. I do believe that I am suffering from lack of the sea, sun and sand as we speak. That porch off the ocean solidified that we need to invest in a beach home someday. Ahhhh, Somedayyy. When I am in the office I feel the soft quiet pull of the salty wind and sand. So, so unbelievably ready for the summer in South Korea, how about you?
I’m starting to realize now why people take photos of landscapes, sunrises, sunsets, etc. They take that photo because they are worried they may never see or get to experience another moment like the one they are in. They capture it to preserve it, and hopefully they are able to capture a smidge of the beauty the real moment possesses.
There is a point to all of this random rambling, I promise.
As I sat on the beach, feet dug deep into the sand I realized, i’m enchanted by the beach.
The sand, sea, and cool ocean breeze….
We are so blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy it so freely, as we do on most of our weekends.
Last, but certainly not least…I had to share our very rustic dining accommodations for this weekend. I know, I know, you are jealous. All joking aside, Allen’ chicken kabobs with pineapple and veggies are heavenly!
Today, for the second time in a row this weekend, I woke up with Mr. B and went to the indoor pool. Yesterday I swam 30 laps, today I pushed myself a bit harder and did 50. Mr. B jokingly said that he needed to buy me a wet-suit for the pool because my lips were turning blue by the time I got out. When he said that, it instantly took me back to childhood memories, the days of swimming until my lips were blue, teeth chattering, convulsing shivering, but not daring to admit it’s time to get out and warm up.
Those were the days!
I stuck around a bit longer this morning to watch the Scuba students in action. Don’t tell Mr. B that I said this, but he’s such a natural! He loves scuba and it truly shines through when he’s helping to assist the students, or explain something more in detail. It’s just so darling watching him light up.
Diving with Aquatic Frontier, the weekend of 26-27 November 2011. The owner, Allen Rivera, was able to conduct 4 diver specialties including: wreck diver, deep diver, night diver and peak performance buoyancy as well as conduct a Rescue Diver certification. Aside from an extremely busy weekend we were able to get some great diving and video in now that we are ending the year. Come dive with Aquatic Frontier in South Korea.
Once again I was out on the East Coast at Sacheon Beach and Kyung Po to do some great diving with Aquatic Frontier. This time I was finishing up my wreck diver specialty. I was able to complete my first wreck penetration, although small it was an exciting dive. The trip was almost a bust thanks to me forgetting to tie down my GoPro camera I just got the week before but Allen from Aquatic Frontier was able to find it at 82 feet just about 24 hours after I lost it. Check out the video below.
For Columbus day I (Mr. B.) was able to get away from everyone and join some great friends for some diving on the East Coast of Korea. Sacheon Beach, Gangneung, Gangwon-do to be exact, see link for more information on the area: Sacheon Beach Information
Aquatic Frontier (aquaticfrontier.com) held a dive trip weekend that got together divers of all experiences, from new divers going for their Basic Open Water Certification, Advanced Open Water Students (which was me) and some other divers who just went along to get some dives in on a great weekend. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. During the day the air temperature was around 65-72 and the water temperature was 68 on the surface and a few meters down.
During the weekend we were able to do several dives; beach dives, boat dives, wreck dives and a deep dive. Our deep dive took us down to 82 feet with a bottom temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The wreck dives were at 74-79 feet with a temperature of about 61 degrees F at the bottom. The ocean on the East Coast on Monday was lake conditions, very calm and flat; excellent for the ride to and from on the boat.
I would like to thank everyone at Aquatic Frontier for an EXCELLENT weekend getaway, and I am eagerly looking forward to my wreck dive specialty dives coming up! Great job guys!
Day one of the trip started off fairly early. Our flight was scheduled to leave Gimpo airport located in Seoul at 9:55am. This meant to beat traffic we had to get on the road at 7:00am sharp. Surprisingly our group did just that and was on the road on time bound for Jeju!
The best part about Jeju is how close it really is. The total flight time was only about 55 minutes. Very quick! We all laughed and said it was just enough time to get comfortable in your seat and then you were ready to land.
We had a lot of kids on the plane and they were all troopers! We hardly heard a peep from any of them. Honestly looking back they all deserved a huge treat of some sort because during the trip they missed nap times, walked, were exposed to the hot sun, and had to eat Korea food.
When we landed at the airport we were met by our guide Ms. Kim. We cannot praise this women enough! She was an absolute hands down fantastic tour guide! Plus she put up with all of us winy Americans. Ms. Kim is was born and raised in Jeju and speaks English incredibly well. We both agreed that if we find ourselves back in Jeju we will be giving Ms. Kim a call again.
We didn’t go directly to the hotel to check in. We loaded up our luggage on a large tour bus and we sought out for our first destination point. Cameras in hand we were ready!
First stop, Seongsan, also known as “Sunrise Peak”. Sunrise Peak is a plateau-like basin which is the crater of an extinct volcano. Eek! That’s right, we said volcano! Don’t worry it’s not active so we were safe. We didn’t get to see the sunrise here because of the flight times but we did get to see the panoramic views that this crater offered. This was after we hiked up a ton of stairs (just a warning). If you get to visit, take the time and hike it! You will not be sorry.
After hiking the crater it was time for lunch. Our group had reservations at a Korean style bi bim bap restaurant. This place was outstanding! They were fully prepared for our large group and had our hot stone bi bim bap ready to go as soon as our bums hit the seats.
After lunch we had a few moments before having to board the bus so we walked down an alley right outside of the hotel and got to see some scuba divers coming in from a dive trip. Mr. B’s heart skipped a beat and he was in awe watching them unpack with all of their gear. Of course for the next few moments he repeated that he couldn’t wait to get the rest of his PADI certification completed.
It was now time to leave the restaurant and be on our way to the next stop on the itinerary. It was another crater known as the sangumbury Crater. The steps were not nearly as rough at this spot. I am sure you are asking why in the world are we going to see yet another crater? Well, the cool thing about the Sangumbury Crater is that it is the only extinct volcano on JeJu island located at ground level. It really is pretty crazy when you think about it. We were impressed by how green everything is on JeJu. The crater had lush forest growth and animals inhibiting it. We were told by our guide that the crater is being studied for that very reason. Interesting, huh?
After we were done at Sangumbury Crater our next stop was the JeJu Folk Village. The village exhibits a comprehensive collection of traditional folk articles from the island ranging around the year of 1890. We met a couple on the trip that were from Panama and he tearfully said that the JeJu Folk village really reminded him of growing up in Panama. It blew our minds getting to look at the village houses and cultural items. By now the sun was scorching us all so luckily there was a snack stand along the trail that served ice-cream. Most of the group bought ice-cream and the other half bought a cool drink. We were all starting to drag so the cool treat was a definite pick-me-up. Ms. Kim finagled a deal that allowed our group to take the tram the rest of the way through the village and back to the bus. Whew! Not a single soul had an issue with that.
We loaded up the bus and the next stop was to transfer to the hotel and check in. We arrived at the Ocean Suites hotel at about 5:30pm. The staff treated the group very well and had the check-in process set up so that we were all able to get to our rooms quickly. We L-O-V-E-D the hotel room! Everything about the hotel was new and fresh. The decor was very modern and sleek, and the view was of the ocean and an outdoor performing arena. Ahhhhh…we didn’t ever want to leave. Our tour group package included breakfast every day at the hotel restaurant. The restaurant featured a large buffet of both western and korean dishes. We would highly recommend the hotel to anyone planning on taking a trip to JeJu. The hotel location is: #1-1260 Samdo-2Dong, JeJu-City, Telephone: 064-720-6000, and website www.oceansuites.kr .
After a long day of fun filled events we took showers and got ready to find some place to grab dinner at. We ended up linking up with a couple and had a blast! We ate at a Korean style restaurant that served Samgyeopsal. We have mentioned having this sort of a meal in past blog postings. Anyways the thick slices of pork with the sides really hit the spot! We were stuffed when we left and all agreed it was an excellent choice.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel but along the way we heard music and singing coming from the outdoor performing arena that we could see from our room. Of course we had to go check what was going on out. The performance was a song that described a story. The only thing we really could take away from it was that it was about fishermen with large casting nets.
With bellies full and eyelids heavy we all decided we were going to head back to the hotel and get some rest. Day two of the trip is a free day with lunch and dinner on your own. Wow does time fly when you are having fun!