Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dokdo/Ulleungdo

 Dokdo and Ulleungdo are islands off the eastern coast of South Korea.  It takes more than two hours on a high-speed ferry to get to Ulleungdo and another 2 1/2 hours or longer (depending on the sea) to get to Dokdo from Ulleungdo.  Add the bus trip from Seoul to the ferry port and this equals a very long trip.  I wanted to go to Dokdo because of its political controversies between South Korea and Japan.  I had to see want all the controversy was all about.

Before we got on the ferry, we were sure not to "Waste Wastes." 
 When we got to Ulleungdo we met up with our "soulmate" tour:)

We dropped off our bags at our pension and headed to Dokdo. 

The Dokdo Controversy has been off and on for many years.  It's South Korean land but Japan claims it is theirs.  When you see the photos of Dokdo, I think you will realize there isn't much to fight over.  It all boils down to water boundaries for fishing purposes.

South Korea says it has been theirs since the Silla Dynasty, in the year 512, when they conquered Dokdo.  My favorite part of the story comes from:  http://www.dokdocorea.com/

"When the general Yi Sa-bu disciplined Uleungdo, where the residents were wild and tough, he invented an idea to get them in an easier way. He let a lot of scarecrows shipped on boats and approached the coast of Uleungdo. "Unless you surrender, I will let all these wild lions run into and kill you." By his threat, the residents of the island easily surrendered and paid tribute every year."


I slept the entire way to Dokdo.  I ran up to the deck to take photos of the island.  The waves were so rough that we could not even land; so they just drove around Dokdo so we could take pictures.
 It was really full to hold myself up during rough waves and try to take photos over the heads of lots of people!
 It was popular for the Korean tourists to feed the seagulls junk food.  It was annoying because I hardly have a single photo without loads of birds.  (ya, I said loads---I hang out with too many Irish/Australians!)


 Korean Coast Guard








The moment I sat down after Dokdo disappeared into the sunset I started to feel nauseous, similear to many other people around me.  Dokdo is nearly half-way to Japan and the sea was anything but calm.  After a few emergency trips to the bathroom, I hung out up on the deck for fresh air.  I have never experienced any sort of motion sickness in my life, let alone being severely seasick!  I hung onto that railing the entire 2 1/2 cold, windy, waves crashing hours back to Ulleungdo.  I wasn't the only one up there.  A few of us bonded over our seasickness.  When I went down to my seat when we were about to dock, I noticed a good majority of the boat was sick.  Not going to lie - that was the boat ride from HELL!  I still can't believe how sick I was - and how sick the entire boat was from the rough waves.  Bleh!  Goodbye forever Dokdo, we won't ever see eachother again!
 We headed to our TINY pension to relax, it took me a while to be able to move!  Usually these pensions have plenty of floor space for us to sleep - but all five of us were as snug as a bug in this room! 
 It's a good thing that Ulleungdo totally made up for Dokdo.  It was a beauitful island.  The most beautiful place I've been in Korea.  I think Ulleungdo is more beautiful than Jeju-do, but there are more things to do in Jeju-do.
 And so begins too many photos of Ulleungdo.  I took 300...so narrowing it down to this was even hard.
 Stairs = My arch enemy!









 We took a monorail to the top.
 
 Next to the monorail was this lift.  An old woman lived on the top of this hill and she had a hard time hiking up and down the hill.  So her husband built her this lift.  Supposedly, the mayor of the town was so moved by this, he built the monorail on her behalf.




 Clear, blue water.  I took this photo way up on the hill.

 Most of the group went hiking, but another super cool chick, Cheryl from Toronto, and I went on a boat trip around the island.  It was really beautiful and relaxing (except for those damn birds!).




 Everyone was feeding the birds again.  This lady put one in her mouth and one near each ear.  Who in their right mind would want a seagull to get that close?!?






 Some divers are out collecting seafood.
 Still haven't perfected self-photos!
 I have about a hundred more photos, but I think I'll spare you the details of each corner of the island.  It was truly beautiful, my photos don't give any justice to the island.
 After eating soley fermented vegetables, rice, and soup for quite a few meals straight...pizza was all that was on my mind!
 Before we left I went of the coastal walk around part of the island and it was gorgeous!!




 You could even have a seafood dinner along the walk.
 The divers from the photo before gather food for this seaside restaurant.  It's about as fresh as it comes!

 This woman was collecting seaweed.  Her husband said she was 79 years old.





 hmmm...not lookin' so good in this self-photo:(

 The water was so clear blue!

 The man was delivering the seafood that the divers caught.
Ulleungdo
T
Ulleungdo is famous for their dried squid!  Mmmmm....shall I mail you some?
Soon enough it was time to board the ferry back to the mainland.

I loved Kim's vegan breakfast - rice, cucumber, and black beans in a can!
Of course everyone lines up 20 minutes before we dock so they can be the first out the door!
Ulleungdo was a really beautiful island.  Despite the seasickness, I met some great people and had a great 3 day weekend.

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