After encountering an actual working group of haenyeo the next day at nearby Seopjikoji, however, I got to radically changing my opinion about them -- and being inclined to look about this celebrated traditional community with far more respect, admiration and awe. For not only were these women going about their business without much hype or hoopla but they went far further away from shore and very noticeably into deeper waters than the ones who had put on what, in comparison, really had been a show at the cove the previous day...
It seems that many -- if not all of -- the haenyeo get to
their assembly point by the sea via motorscooters!
From there, it's a short walk over black volcanic rocks to the sea
For much of the year, the waters off Jeju probably are
cold enough for wetsuits to be a welcome costume option
Even so, I reckon it takes quite the effort to voluntarily
go into the water and far away from shore...
...which may be one reason why I saw that the haenyeo
tend to do so in groups rather than solo :S
See what I mean about this group of haenyeo having gone
further away from the shore than the previous day's group?
Yes, these are divers, not "just" swimmers...
It's also worth pointing out that some three hours
after I saw them go into the water, they still were
working away far away from shore... :O