April 27, 2017

Daebudo: The muddy unknown of South Korea

roadAt first sight, the mudflats of Daebudo Island seem desolate and bleak , but there is much more on this muddy land than meets the eye.

Daebudo is located two hours southwest of Seoul in the municipality of Ansan city in Gyeonggi province. The island and surrounding seom (isles) have a population of roughly 7100 citizens. As you can imagine fishing and tourism are the predominate industries in these parts, because of the great access to quality seafood and the beautiful landscapes. The island is quite remote and has a very strong authentic feel. The people of these interesting islands were much warmer and welcoming than Seoulites, like with many countryside towns and cities.

mudflats_daebudo_southkoreaThe mudflats were incredible and timeless. When I first arrived and gazed over this dead-looking landscape I couldn’t believe the amount of life that is supported here. With every step closer to the main island, I could see small wiggling shapes in the distance. These small shapes eventually grew from just a few to hundreds then thousands and then millions! These tiny shapes ended up being small crabs scattered everywhere, and very skidish to even the slight movement in their direction. Some were raising their claws in the air fighting with other crabs while others were fighting for food. The sheer amount of them was daunting as I can not recall plainly seeing one million of any animal right in front of me. As the ocean receded the sea of crabs presented themselves to the world.


2birdsEven though the day was very rainy, cloudy, dim and dark there were still beautiful sights to be seen. There was a cute seom up ahead and after walking for 10 minutes and passing three humongous wind turbines the isle was finally reached.



windsThe lush green isle stood in dark contrast to the grey, muddy landscape. As pelicans flew overhead and crabs scurried below the thought that “life always finds a way” kept passing through my mind. Now, not everything was all fine and dandy that day, as it kept raining off and on. I was not very wise leaving my umbrella on the bus but I digress. I was also shocked by the amazing wind turbines and their added serenity to the land. They were a profound compliment to what nature has to offer to man without the unnecessary byproducts of carbon and methane emissions.


mountainterrain2After returning to the bus my next destination was the next seom about a ten minutes drive away. Once we arrived we had to trek a good 45 minutes up and down mud-laden land. The island was thick with trees and flowers as well as animal life. The island was a tourist area but only for Koreans so the destination still have an authentic feel about it. The specific seom I was on was a past outpost for the military. They posted there and looked out for oncoming foreigners making their way to Korean land from China or North Korea. Even though there was an immense amount of fog and you could barely see the ocean there was still a feeling of peace in the air as well as discovery. Beyond that white wall of fog just past the shores was unknown to me and, I am sure, to the military as well. I could only imagine a vessel slowly swaying towards the island with unknown prospects from both the Korean military and the ship’s crew. I am sure both parties felt great anxiety as did I thinking about this idea.

monolith_daebudo_south_korea2Finally after climbing this beast up, down and around I made my way back to the bus and back to the concrete jungle that is Seoul. This excursion left me with thoughts and imaginations of what life would have been like without such “necessary” technologies like GPS, Google and Wikipedia. The thought of the unknown just past the fog was a scary thought but it pressed the idea of knowledge or the lack their of. The anxiety I felt looking into the fog was no different than the anxiety I or anyone would feel when looking at the uncertainties of life. Just like with any decision in life, should we run away from the unknown or embrace it? Conquer it or be conquered by it? Regardless of the answer, I must saw the island and its views were a beautiful sight none the less. Maybe just keeping the thinking to a minimal and enjoying the present is the key. Push it!




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