How long can you dive into the sea without oxygen?

View from Haenyeo monument

View from Haenyeo monument

 

When you drive along the sea-side roads in Jeju or walk on Olle trails, you can often notice old ladies in diving suits. They don’t carry oxygen tanks but baskets. They are called Haenyeo(Female diver) or Jomnyeo(in Jeju dialect). Young haenyeos are in their 50’s and old haenyeos are around late 70’s. They dive into the sea and collect shells and edible seaweeds. They can dive 5m to 20m from 30 seconds to more than 2 minutes without oxygen. Believe or not some people say Haenyeos have unofficial world record of long diving without oxygen. Well, only thing I was interested was fresh seafood I can have in most Haenyeo restaurants until I visited Haenyeo museum. There are number of small size restaurants run by Haenyeos. They don’t open long hours because Haenyeos only sell what they earn from the sea daily but the food is inexpensive and incredibly fresh. Haenyeo museum(http://www.haenyeo.go.kr) located in Sehwa-ri displays a lot of information about their lives. Each Haenyeo’s life can be written as a novel and their stories are touching.   Haenyeo museum offers a short film about Haenyeo in English and free English booklets for international visitors. Moreover, the view from 4th floor observatory is so peaceful you would really want to live there.  Weoljeongri beach-famous for the interesting cafe and beautiful beaches is 8.5KM away from the museum offering beautiful sea-side driving.

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