Do you speak Korean?

The team!

It was not a diving intended trip but… Why don’t take the chance, and instead of coming back on a Friday, I could come back on a Sunday! Yes, I could go diving! I’ve already been in South Korea 7 years ago, at that time, I was already a technical diver, but for some reason, I didn’t have the tools I have now. I’ve heard a lot about the GUE community there, so I really wanted to meet them, and also see how diving in South Korea is. And it is not only about the diving experience, but to learn all the logistics, ways of doing, experiences and projects of other communities.

So I called one of the local GUE instructors from GUE Tech Korea, and I barely didn’t have to do anything else. It happened that the weekend I was going, there was a trip planned to the East Sea, the diving spot was 200km from Seoul, where I was working. The plan was diving on Saturday and coming back on the same day, as I was flying back home on Sunday. The GUE South Korea team, organized everything, I just had to show up! About the diving, the only discussion was:

  • GUE SK: What do you need of equipment?
  • Belen: Which level are we diving to?
  • GUE SK: Rec-Fundamentals
  • Belen: Can I borrow fins?

Ended regarding logistics!! I knew the following parameters:

  • Meeting point: Exit number 3 of Daecheong station, in Seoul
  • Time: 21:00
  • Plan: No idea!!

And everything else was granted 😊 😊  As it has been said before, this is the magic of the GUE family.

The port at night

The whole story… I arrived at the meeting point a bit before the time, there was no traffic in seoul on my way, regardless that the whole city was a huge traffic jam! And there I met two of the members, who were super kind and nice, and we waited for the 4th team member. We were driving in 2 cars, since one was not enough for 4 people plus all our gear. We drove for 2.5 hours to the dive site, and we arrived passed midnight. On the way, Yura told me the plan: there’s aTyphoon coming to South Korea, so all diving is cancelled for Sunday and we need to start early in the morning on Saturday, if we want to do three dives, as the conditions might get bad for the afternoon. What I didn’t know is that early was 6AM diving!!! OMG…. Yes! First dive 6AM, second dive 9AM, third dive (if conditions allow) 11AM. We arrived and set up our gear, analyze tanks and leave everything ready to just jump on the boat at dawn. I was super excited. We went back to the house, and what I really really liked is that we playd rock, papar scissors which in Korean sounds like “Jai Bai Boh!!” for me who whas diving with. There were all levels, CCR, Tech 2, Tech 1, Fundamentals… but it didn’t matter really, we’re all diving together tomorrow on a recreational level!!! 😊 😊 and yes, all configurations compatible and applied.

We woke up a 5:45, drove 1 minute to the dive center, geared up (ok… yes, I had 1 coffee first…) and went diving. The dive spot was only a 5 minutes boat ride, GUE EDGE (this is the funny part, click here) and then we jumped in the water! It felt so comfortable!! On the surface 24 degrees, below 25 meters… 14 degrees!!!!!

Traditional Korean Coffee

The dive sites

I have never experienced the conditions like that before: Warm water, but green, very dark, but you could actually see 20m apart, so I did not really considered that there was bad visibility. 

You jump off the boat, and descent to pinnacles where the top is at 25 meters and the bottom at 34m. Being with Nitrox 32% our maximum depth was 30 meters, perfect combination. Bottom time of 30 minutes, just enough to explore the pinnacles and ascent. I felt like I was diving with the same buddy for years! The pinnacles are covered with soft corals, anemones and really colorful life, I was so impressed that despite the green water, the visibility was quite good!

One of us! on a CCR

When we jumped off the water, it was time for breakfast!! It was still 7 AM, so perfect timing. Here is when I really felt I was in the Red Sea, a combination of dive, eat, sleep, dive, eat, sleep, …repeat. And what do we have for breakfast? I thought it was a full meal but apparently not, it is the Korean 100 meal, which has all the side dishes, and some fish, together with a soup, apparently it lacks of main dish, but I wouldn’t guess that for myself.

Breakfast time! Still 7 AM :S

Sleep or hang out for one hour… back to diving!! Our tanks were filled on the mean time, and when we arrived I only needed to gear up and jump on the boat. Another dive site, more pinnacles, same procedure. What really impacted me on this one is that it was full of fishing lines ☹ really sand, but SK has a great Ghost fishing initiative, that is already working on this.

Clear example of Ghost fishing

Back to land… and it is suddenly lunch time!! We had lunch all together, and then a really nice surprise… The team ordered fresh scallops for lunch, and they were delicious!!!! It reminded me my time in New Zealand, when the scallop season opened. We had a group lunch, some hanging around and another dive!

It’s lunch time!!!

We waited to see if the conditions were improving and they were fine, so here we go again! We went to the same spot as dive 2, but as it usually happens, every time you see the dive site differently. I was more focused now on small life… and it was great. One of the specials of low visibility sometimes on the sea is that it has a high concentration of nutrients, that makes marine life such as corals and nudibranchs to grow exponentially, that’s not to mention other life as well, but of course, being close the a fishing town and not in a marine reserve, you can see the impact. 

I was really impressed with the scenery!

When we were back, it was time to pack our stuff, and as it can’t be on another way… we stopped for a group dinner on the way. This time, on the menu was a famous chicken soup, that it is traditionally eaten in Korea to “recover your body” from some physical effort, accompanied by lots of side dishes and yummy snacks!

Three hours more to Seoul!

For the local communities that you visit, it is a way of exchanging different ways of doing the same thing. I really liked the GUE EDGE Korean style!! 

For the people who travel, I feel I can dive everywhere in the world!!!

And now, they will visit me in Spain! I can’t wait and that’s how the GUE magic works! A global team of local communities.

Thanks to 김혜진 (Jinny) for all the underwater photos!!!!

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