Saeseom Island and The Diving Ladies

We started the day by hiking down to the lava rocks along the Olle Trail of Jeju Island, Korea.

After following the trail into Seogwipo City, we walked until the Seogwipo Port came into view — full of white sails and crystal blue waters, surrounded by fish restaurants and about 100 local tourists wandering the bridge back and forth to Saeseom Island.

When we got to the port, we discovered a bridge leading to out to the island Saeseom. Saeseom (새섬) used to be inaccessible except at low tide, but Jeju has built the rather popular Saeyeongyo Bridge (새섬 새연교) to transcend that minor barrier.

The bridge itself is designed in shape like the Jeju long boat

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to see some Haenyeo divers at work! These women practice the traditional job of diving into the ocean to gather various seafood and treasures to sell at local markets (e.g. the Maeil Olle market further into town).

We forged our way across the bridge (free, we checked!) and found ourselves on the island! The name Saeseom apparently refers to the silvergrass growing all around — often used in thatching. The island is now an ecological park filled with all kinds of birds and plants.

Some sources suggest other names are Bird Island. . . but we are not sure how accurate that is.

There are definitely a ton of birds singing and flitting about!

The trail itself was quite up and down, but not very long. If you meander and take a lot of pictures (like us!) you can probably spend about an hour wandering around.

The water is just so clear! We keep talking about it – but it is definitely unlike anything we’ve seen before. You can see straight down for several feet!

There are two lighthouses guarding a man-made islet around the port. One red, one white — they seemed like chess piece kings guarding their kingdom.

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