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Bijindo: An Island in the Sun

SOUTH KOREA | Saturday, 8 May 2010 | Views [2345] | Comments [3]

Oh my gosh!  What does a girl pack for an over night stay on a far away island anyways?  When this question hit me last Saturday afternoon I had 2 hours to shower, pack, pick up food, drink, batteries and sunscreen at Lotte mart and than catch a taxi to the Ferry terminal.  This would be fine on any other day but for whatever reason I had forgot it was Saturday so the lines at Lotte were longer, there were no taxis waiting outside of lotte mart (there are usually 5 or 6) and the traffic to the ferry terminal, through the main part of the city, was too much to bare.


Frantic calls from my friends who had purchased my ticket and were waiting patiently in line for me and then the line advanced and they were waiting on the boat for me.  Christina?  Where are you now?  I was only two blocks closer than I was the last time they called.  Son of a bitch, I was gonna miss it!  But then, in the windshield I could see the ferry terminal and all movie style and everything, I tossed money at the taxi driver and made a mad dash through the parked traffic, across the busy road and into the ferry terminal.  Declan, the Irish mad dasher, bless his heart, jumped off the ferry to give me my ticket, while Celia, his girlfriend told the Korean ferry men they could not untie the boat without her boyfriend on it.  Thank god for friends! 


Sprinting though the terminal building, through the gate, across the landing, down the      dock and I Made it!!!  Whooooo!!! The whole boat yelled, everyone was pressed up against the rails of the boat yelling, chanting my name. ok I am lying.  I did make it though and my friends did cheer for me and I was very satisfied, very out of breath but very satisfied none the less.


The ferry took about forty minutes and when we got to Bijindo some of our friends were already setup on the beach.  This beach is supposedly one of the best in our area.  It is long and it essentially is the only thing connecting, what would be two islands otherwise.  Nine native English speakers, three tents, one double sided beach, two very small stores, one kayak, one Frisbee, one football, one burner and one case of soju.  Needless to say, a great time was had by all. 


While we were relaxing on the beach, a random woman showed up and started trying to speak with us.  I befriended her and after we got to talking, she told me her husband was a Korean Navy Seal.  She told me that he scuba dives off of Bijindo to collect seafood.  I thought this was really cool and started asking her question after question about her husbands hobby.  She told me that if he got as much today as he did the day before that she would gladly share it with me and so we exchanged phone numbers.


When I didnt hear from her by 7 oclock, it was dark; I figured they must not have done well and that there was no seafood for me.  Around 8 oclock my new friend showed up at our beautiful beach bonfire.  I asked her how her husband did and she said she didnt know yet and that he was diving now.  What?!  Now?!  In the dark?  I exclaimed to her.  She laughed at me and nodded with an of course you silly American you look on her face.  She asked me to come along with her to the dock so we watched her husbands underwater adventure through a muted beam of light that danced along the oceans floors and walls. 


Venus Suns family showed up one by one, her sister, then her sisters husband.  They both knew enough English to communicate at a 65% success rate, which is actually really good.  More often than not, they could understand me but had trouble trying to speak English. 


Her husband climbed out half an hour later with a bag full, and I mean full of seafood.  Three octopus, 25 crabs, Avalon, sea cucumber, snails and an assortment of other things I had never seen.  She told me to come back with her and her family.  Her family was staying on Bijindo for the weekend because it was a holiday, parents day, on Saturday.  Her extended family was there but by the time we got to their minbauk many people where sleeping.  I played with her daughter and niece, who were afraid of me at first but we made it work.  I just poked them and played with their hair until they liked me.  They were showing off their hello kitty notebooks to me in no time! 


Then the feast began!  We had raw sea cucumber, which I could have done without and too many crabs.  Too many of them!!  They kept coming and coming!  Every time I finished one, they had already broken another one open for me and had it waiting.  Then the soju!  I felt like a queen. I was truly the guest of honor and it was so touching.  It was nice to feel like part of a family when I am in such a foreign land.  I dont even love crab but it was so much better than any crab I have ever had but maybe it was because I had seen it pulled out of the ocean only 30 minutes beforehand.  It was crazy good. 


I went back to my friends with a full stomach of fresh crab and smile on my face to hear that I had missed out on their adventure.  There was a group of university students that were staying on the island for a night as part of their rowing team training.  Apparently they stormed our little fire and danced around it shouting and chanting, who knows what.  It was all in good fun.  Then they challenged them to a soju chugging contest which one should always turn down.  Not all of my friends did though and I am glad they didnt because there was some wonderful entertainment.  Someone even spotted a UFO!   

Tags: beach, south korea, tongyoung



Once again Christina your wonderful love of adventure shines through. Thank you so much for sharing all these crazy, unbelievable experiences with all of us. I am quite enjoying the view of South Korea through your fun-loving, youthful (and beautiful blue)eyes!

  Mom May 18, 2010 1:13 AM


Hi there,
I read about the Bijindo island and it seems like a place to relax with sun, sea and sand.
Could you advice me how to go there from Seoul? I plan to make a trip early Dec if that is still a good time to go.
Thanks in advance!!! :)

  aerden Aug 28, 2013 1:00 PM


Hey Aerden,
Early December might be a bit cold on Bijindo so I would forego camping. If you were planning on staying overnight, I would bet the pensions and places are closed than as well since it is off season.

It is easy to get here from Seoul, if you have the time. Go to Express Bus terminal and catch a bus to Tongyeong (토영). It will take about 4 hours. Then from the bus terminal in Tongyeong, you can catch a taxi. Tongyeong is pretty small so it won't be more than 10,000krw taxi ride. Tell the taxi driver, yo-gek-san-teminal.

  Christina Aug 28, 2013 1:09 PM

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