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Archive for August 22, 2022

Haenyeo: The Sea Women of South Korea

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August 22, 2022

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Haenyeo: The Sea Women of South Korea

The sea, it is said, is like a mother. The salt water, the pulse and surges of the current, the magnified beat of your heart, and the muffled sounds reverberating through the water together recall the womb.

– Lisa See –

Haenyeo: The Sea Women of South Korea

“My first encounter with the Haenyeo was through their song. I was hiking in the Seongsan crater on Jeju, an island off the southern coast of South Korea, when I wandered down a winding cliff path to the waterfront. On the rocky beach, an empty seaside restaurant offered seafood to absent crowds. It was obvious that Covid had taken a toll on the local tourism industry. Then the sound of singing came from a shack next to the restaurant, and filled the bay. A few minutes later five women emerged, probably in their late 50s and 60s, wearing brightly-coloured woolen underwear, wetsuit pants, and rubber moccasins. They continued to sing, dance, and laugh while simultaneously helping each other into their remaining diving gear. I later learned that the Haenyeo pray to Jamsugut, the goddess of the sea, before each dive. Through the shamanistic ritual of song and dance they ask for safety while diving and a plentiful catch.” Read more about the Haenyeo– a remarkable community of female free-divers living and working on Jeju island in South Korea. { read more }

Be The Change

“Seven months pregnant and apprehensive of the effect motherhood would have on her career as a professional freediver, Kimi Werner took a trip to the island of Jeju in South Korea to meet her heroes, the Haenyeo.” Watch this inspiring short film on her experience, “Lessons from Jeju: Freediving and Motherhood with Kimi Werner.” { more }

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