The 2015 scuba diving season opening was truly amazing! Namae Scuba (남애스쿠버리조트) hosted a great event which had approximately 50 people from around the world. We haven’t ever seen a season opening quite like this one. This was just one more reason why we come to Namae Scuba for our diving.
Many of us traveled out to the east coast Friday night to beat any traffic. Some stayed at the dive shop and some stayed at the Moby Dick hotel just a few hundred meters away. If there is one thing that we can say for sure is that no matter where you stay when you dive with us either location is nice. Both have ocean views and a sunrise that can’t be beat.
Everyone woke up early on Saturday morning and headed down to the dive shop where we cooked up some eggs, bacon and cheese sandwiches for our divers. We even had some espresso brewing from our Moka pot. We come prepared and know how to cook some good food.
Once everyone had some food to eat we started preparing our diving gear. Catching up with some friends we haven’t seen in a while and meeting new dive buddies is always one of the best parts of any dive trip. This trip we met up with a club member we haven’t seen in a few years and had several new divers join us. It was definitely a great group.
At 1000 AM Namae Scuba Resort had all divers gather around to pay our respects to the ocean and any ancestors that were lost due to the ocean. This was a humbling experience because for many of us (myself included) we had never participated in this type of an event. Sure we may have seen Koreans bowing and making offering but we haven’t had the opportunity, until now, to do this. We were extremely honored when we were asked if we would like to come up as a dive club and bow to show respect. Our club members were happy to participate, we walked up kneeled down and assumed a praying position twice; once we rose we deeply bowed, once again showing respect.
The table was decorated with a pig’s head, candles, fruit and makgeolli. The staff from Namae Scuba had a nice speech prepared to open the season and they were also nice enough to ensure we understood what was going on as well. They really do take care of us, and it is greatly appreciated.
Once the opening event was concluded we finalized our gear setup and buddy checks and waited for everyone to load the trucks. The opening dive required two dive boats to get everyone into the water. At the docks we loaded the boats at motored off to “West Ridge” Dive site.
Sadly the conditions were not ideal, and nothing like the last time we were at the east coast. Water temps were around 6-8 C (43-46 F) and visibility was only around 1.5-2 meters. This didn’t stop us from having fun though. George led a nice dive around the site and got us back to the blocks where we could shoot a DSMB and slowly ascend.
Eagerly looking forward to lunch (and some warmth) we ordered some fried rice, jjampong (짬뽕) and jjajangmyeon (짜장면). Jjajangmyeon is simply black bean sauce noodles and they arevery delicious and filling (most westerners like them). Jjampong is a spicy seafood stew mixture that usually has squid/octopus, mussels, crab, shrimp and other seafood and noodles in it. Both are absolutely delicious and inexpensive.
After lunch several of us prepared to test out new equipment and do a shore dive. two divers got in and completed a short shore dive while I had to correct some equipment malfunctions (my drygloves became separated from their rings and I couldn’t get a seal). Oh well…it was now time to clean equipment for the day.
As everyone was finishing cleaning gear and warming up Namae Scuba was preparing multiple BBQ pits for us to grill on. For the season opening they offered a great package…for ₩25,000 each diver got a t-shirt, participated in the opening event and was provided an amazing BBQ. The BBQ started off with normal side dishes (garlic, peppers, dipping sauces), kimchi jjigae (김치 찌개) aka Kimchi Stew, and lots of Hwey (회). Hwey is raw seafood, most westerners know it as sashimi. Let me just say now that the food was phenomenal and boy did anyone miss out if they weren’t there…sorry. As everyone snacked on those dishes we were brought pounds and pounds of pork to grill along with sausages. Each table also was provided several bottles of soju, cola and juice and there were 2 kegs of beer on tap. Definitely not a bad deal at all.
As everyone was finishing up our food the staff thanked everyone for participating in the 2015 season opening and made sure to come around to each table to say “thank-you”. This was simply amazing because this type of customer service is rarely seen outside of Korea. Everyone raised their glasses and gave a loud cheers.
Most of us sat around for a few hours after the BBQ to catchup with long time friends and pull new club members into the fold. Everyone clicked well and was quickly pulled in to the club friendship, not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.
Sunday morning came quick. Most of us slept well and welcomed the warm air and beautiful sunrise. My wife and I were able to take a walk together in the early morning and enoy the quiet and each other’s company before the world woke up…this was one of my favorite times of the weekend. For this reason we encourage all divers to bring their non-divers girlfriends/boyfriends/spouses to enjoy a truly amazing part of Korea.
After our beach walk we cooked breakfast and made some espresso for everyone. Everyone opted out of diving on Sunday in favor of enjoying a relaxing slow paced wake-up and preparation for the trip home.
I want to personally thank everyone who came out with us this weekend. This was truly a great weekend. The 38th Parallel Divers club was organized because of weekends like this! We met some new friends and caught up with others. I look forward to logging some dives with those that came and those that will dive in the future…thank-you for a great weekend!
*several images without 38th Parallel Divers copyright courtesy Rob Burton