To put it simply, this experience was one of the best in my entire life. I didn’t know much about Haenyeo, other than from some articles and whatnot I read prior to this experience, however once I was able to learn more via lecture and museum, I had the utmost excitement to take part in this experience. Wandering around the museum gave us all a change to learn more about what we were about to dive into, and educated us and our potential viewers to take part in it with us.
The experience was difficult, but wonderful. Wearing all that gear and standing in the hot sun wore me out pretty quickly. Walking to the water felt like it took ages, but at the first touch of the cold water it was all worth it. Swimming around in the beautiful water with our cheerful teacher was worth every moment of floundering around in our flippers and slipping over the rocks as us amateurs attempted to climb into the water. As many of us were trying to get comfortable and clinging to each other for support, our more experienced guide effortlessly swam our and tried to encourage us as much as she could.
After it was over, I had gained the most respect for these women. As I commented at the time, these women are quite older than me and I felt like I barely survived. Climbing over rocks, wearing all the diving gear, trying to look somewhat graceful, all seemed to make this impossible, but these women persist and make it look effortless. I have so much respect for them and their work and have no regrets about joining them. They encouraged and educated us and I hope they always know how amazing it was for all those who participated.