The nights are getting chillier and the hopes of another warm day for swimming are evaporating.
The days now are more often blue skies and a slight breeze. The fish must be coming in closer to shore because at night the boardwalk is lined with men surf-casting in the few-feet high waves that break near the boardwalk wall. They’re pulling out 10-14″ glistening fish. No idea what kind.
In Colorado, when the weather gets this chilly, the mosquitoes drop off. It’s kind of a deal we have. Warm enough to swim, you get mosquitoes. Too cold to swim, no mosquitoes.
Apparently, that wasn’t in the contract with Jeju mosquitoes. They don’t seem to mind the cool weather. More than once I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to put on bug spray after my hands and face have been bitten. I used a fan to keep them away in the hot weather, but now that’s a silly tactic since it’s too cold for me. I guess a mosquito net would have been a good investment. But I keep thinking the mosquitoes can’t last much longer. So far, that’s been a steady, but wrong guess.
After swimming at the far beach (two blocks away instead of one), I ran into a couple of my rascally students. They were wet and peering over the edge of the seawall to the water below, excitedly pointing at fish below. One had a fishing pole, the surfcast style with no reel. He had a green piece of plastic with a bunch of string wrapped around it (fishing line or kite string?). He leaned back and launched his ‘hook’. It was then that I saw a really big rusty nail tied to the end of the string.
“What, do you actually catch fish with that?,” I asked
“Yes!,” he said.
“No!,” his friend said.
“Teacher, Teacher,” the friend said, “My diary tomorrow: ‘I dived in the beach”’ He pointed to the beach beyond. Cool, he’s already composing his diary in English.
It’s beach season here so at least a few times a week, and sometimes even a couple times a day, I take a swim in the ocean.
This is a complete luxury that I don’t take for granted!
An easy 12-minute walk from my apartment is the smaller beach that has fewer people and gets deep quicker, so is a bit better for swimming.
It feels like magic to swim in the ocean. Even when I only swim for 20 minutes I fit in an array of liberating movement. I can dog paddle, seriously swimming freestyle or breaststroke, or float on my back and let the small waves move me purposelessly here and there. I’ll do porpoise dives half-way across the width of the beach, then decide to do a few handstands. Follow up with a couple front flips, and a backflip or two. Ahhh. Bliss
In addition to the beach…(which sounds very greedy!)there’s a wonderul spot just in front of my apartment building. It’s a combination harbor, washing area and swimming hole.
On Friday night after work and food, we swam there at midnight. The cool fresh water from the small mountain (called an Orem) meets the sea here, so it feels very refreshing.Late at night, people stop by and wade around or stick their toes in. From early in the morning to the early evening, kids and parents splash around. Squirt guns, inner tubes, shivering kids, lifejackets, moms sitting together in the shade, and bicycles leaning on the wall.
In the morning on Sunday, the tide was in so it was deep enough for a dad and his two sons to dive into the water. Later that day, there was no water at all at that spot! Timing! The cool thing is that since the water changes levels so drastically all day long, it’s like water world with different activities depending on the time of the day (kinda!)