The Haenyeo Diaries: Day 10

“Here, take some haesam (sea cucumber) for helping us. They’re on the expensive side, so you should take them while you have the chance.” Knowing I deserve nothing from them, I always reply with a sharp, “No, no, you worked hard for them and you can sell them to people. Sell them.” And that’s what they did. With warmer weather and ideal conditions for diving, the Haenyeo have been venturing further out into the ocean, so far away that I can barely see their bright orange flotation devices these days. The main reason is to gather haesam, a unique looking sea creature that fetch twice as much as sora (turban shells). The few that were offered to my girlfriend and I was sold to a local buyer for 25,000 won (to our delight). The Haenyeo have been bringing in less sora with the warmer weather, and instead they are making up for it by catching the “lighter” and more valuable haesam. It was nice to see them upbeat and a little less exhausted than my previous encounter.

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