Jindo Sea Parting Festival, Korea

The Jindo Sea Parting Festival wasn’t even on my radar.  I had never heard of it before.  But some friends of mine were talking about going, and everyone had heard great things about it… and since they were all going, I decided “why not?!” We all signed up for a trip down to Jindo, another of the islands on the south coast.  As the trip grew closer, I actually researched the festival a little, and saw what the trip was going to be like, and it actually seemed really fun.  So I got pretty excited about it.  In anticipation, I watched the movie Exodus, and imagined that was what it was going to be like.

Not so much.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We left from Seoul at about 10pm on a friday night, driving all night to arrive at the seashore at about 5am.  We quickly grabbed torches, and set off on the 5:30am torch walk.  It was a good introduction to the festival, but I was a wee bit tired.  My torch was majestic, though.

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The sea doesn’t completely part during the early tide, so we could only walk out about half a kilometer or so.  But it was definitely interesting.  Not least because, while the torches look very cool, they didn’t reallllly light the ground so well, and it was pretty slippery.  Also, there were a lot of pools that seeeeemed really shallow.  But then you were suddenly knee deep in ocean.

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After our morning torch walk, we went to our pension to sleep and rest up for the actual festival.  The main area of the festival was pretty crowded, there were lots of places selling food, and an international area selling food from other countries.  It was a good time, but soon it was time for us to head to our boat.

One thing I was very happy about on our trip was that we were taking a boat out to the island and walking back to the mainland.  Rather than walking from the mainland to the island with everyone else.  And the island of Mordor (seriously) was a wonderfully quiet little fishing village.

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We were on the island for a few hours, waiting for the sea to part.  I think now is the time to address my biggest issue with the sea parting festival.  The sea didn’t part… it was extremely low tide.  And basically a sandbar that stretched between the two islands.  When the tide is low enough you can walk across.  In high school, my best friend had a summer house on the beach, and there was an island off the coast that you could walk to during low tide everyday.  So, maybe I was a little jaded.  But #tides.

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The walkway started to show pretty early, but it took a long time for it to actually go down far enough that we could walk all the way across.  I spent the time walking around the beach collecting shells (because apparently I am still a 12 year old at heart)

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They get so few visitors to the island that no one really picks up shells, so there were some beautiful shells there.  Including this one:

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I had never seen a shell like that before, and was pretty sure i had found either A) a new species of sea animal or B) a fossil.  Upon returning home I signed up for a shell collector’s message board and was promptly informed it was a worm shell.  New to me, but not so exciting for anyone else.

Finally, it was time for us to walk across back to the main island.

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What I was not really expecting was to see so many marine animals on the walk, but it became my mission to find them.  Unfortunately, other than the tons and tons of clams that could be seen squirting water up, there wasn’t too much to see.  Except: This octopus did not get the memo that the sea would be parting.

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Neither did this starfish.

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And this snail might have gotten the memo… but it did not move fast enough.

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Upon returning to the other side, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and sleep before setting off for Busan in the morning to take part in the Holi Hai festival.  It was also a lot of fun, but unfortunately, I didn’t take my camera because there was so much paint flying.

I’m so glad I had friends that had their eye out for cool festivals.  It was a lot of fun, glad I went.  And definitely something I had not really planned on doing.




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