"I'm no good at all [at the profession], but I'm a haenyeo. I can't be
top class. I'm low class! When we were young, we always liked to
spend hot days playing in the sea. Swimming and splashing, that
was our play. That's how we learn [the diving skills]. But when
playing, ears could go wrong. Since then my ears hurt underwater.
Doo-Kyo Kang from Gwideok Village
"Haenyeo usually take diving medicine. Without it, diving is too
painful, with dizziness, nausea and vomiting. But since I am not
diving deep, I started diving without medicine. I believed there was
still something left to catch, without taking it. But even so, my head
aches even in low water.
"I don't go deep. It's dangerous for those diving deep. It would be
scary to die underwater....We pray to the dragon king of the sea for
abundant harvest, and pray for safe return without accident. We
pray and pray.
"I love it. Catching seafood is a lot of fun. I can't fish as much as a
top-class, but it satisfies me. I would never stop having fun with the
diving work. I will continue on as long as I can, maybe to age 85."
Excerpted from "Grandma Ocean,"a film short by Hui-jin Kang shown at the 2013 Jeju Women's Film Festival
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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