▲ The brave - and very British - Jonny Richardson faces his fears down in the Dodu deep. Photo courtesy Seawalker
Deep-sea life fascinates me, it always has. I’ve watched hours upon hours of documentaries about life in the aquatic, marveling at an array of tropical crea-tures more akin to aliens than fish. I’m even a competent swimmer and enjoy nothing more than spending a hot, summer’s afternoon on a beach; some-times I even take a snorkel.
You’d think, then, that by the grand age of 25, I’d have plucked up the testicular fortitude to go deep-sea diving; but no, the idea still terrifies me. It’s an irrational and unfounded fear, but I’m sure I’ll inexplicably endanger my life.
For this reason, I jumped at the chance to try “seawalking.” Seawalking is the latest adventurous, outdoor activity to embrace in Jeju. It’s child-friendly, easy, safe, highly enjoyable and you don’t even need to be able to swim!
Upon arriving at the Dodu Harbor site, dubbed Jeju’s first “underwater Olle,” you will be given the required equipment and prepared to enter the water. Wetsuits and seawalking shoes are provided, but because I’m from Britain - where it’s always cold - I didn’t need the wetsuit and wore only the shorts and shoes.
Before climbing down the ladder towards the ocean bed, a helmet is placed on your shoulders to supply oxygen to you. As you get deeper into the water, you may feel a buildup of pressure and some discomfort in your ears, if this happens it means you need to equalize the pressure in your eyes by pinching your nose, closing your mouth and blowing gently until the pressure ceases.
You will dive in a group of up to six seawalkers at a time, accompanied by two underwater guides. Once under, you will have the opportunity to feed the fish, which will result in huge numbers engulfing your immediate vicinity.
Explorers can expect to see sea bream, grey mullet, a variety of tropical fish, depending on the season and the temper-ature of the water, and squid after the sun has set. The late opening hours giving visitors the opportunity to explore the ocean bed by night.
You can also get your picture taken with an underwater dolhareubang, attempt to ride a bicycle, explore the seabed and jump up and down on the spot which is similar to the zero-gravity sensation astronauts feel, explains the guide. All shots taken throughout are available for 10,000 won and will be sent by email.
Seawalking was something that I really enjoyed doing and I’d highly recommend giving it a go. It’s particularly good for children (aged 10 and up), families, non-swimmers and people who are just too scared to go proper diving. Enjoy seawalking, Jeju’s underwater Olle!
Cost: 80,000 won (adults); 60,000 won(children aged 10-13). Jeju Weekly readers receive a 20,000 won discount with this story.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. but book in advance.
Address: Seawalker, 297-2 Dodu 2-dong, Sehaean-no, Jeju City
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