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Published: August 10th 2008
A bus, a subway and a short ferry ride, and we were once again hitting one of the islands in our favourite Korean travel playground, the West sea off Incheon. After being enticed by an arial photograph in the waiting room of the Incheon harbour, we decided that this trip would be to the island of Deokjeokdo. Without knowing much about the island, we decided to just buy one-way tickets.
Once we were on the island we caught a the waiting bus to Sinripo beach on the South Eastern corner. As usual, we had to insist to some highly persuasive ajummas
that we were not in need of accommodation and were planning to stay in our tent by choice, not for lack of options. When we arrived in Sinripo we were glad that we had held our ground, because the campsite turned out to be a beautiful strip of pine forest along the shore. As usual, we had the entire campsite to ourselves.
After walking around the town looking for some food, we finally found an elderly man and woman who agreed to open us their tiny shop, actually an outside storage room, to sell us water, instant noodles,
and a few other basic supplies. We headed back to the beach for our hot noodles and an early night's rest to wipe away 2 weeks of work.
Early the next morning we packed the tent and, after a cup of gas-stove coffee, walked a few hundred metres back along the road to where a small trail started up the side of the island's Southern peak. The whole hike, in fact most of our time on the island, we were surrounded by a thin fog. Although it restricted our view from the top, this fog clearly is great for the forest which was one of the greenest places I've ever been. Every tree trunk was wrapped with deep green ivy and the canopy closed above us for most of the hike.
We hike up and over the peak and into a valley of rice paddies on the other side. We wandered along the small empty streets back towards the pier, watching cranes in the rice paddies and goats and dogs sniffing around the small houses. The whole place was incredibly peaceful and rustic. It's fantastic how simple life is on the islands just a few hours from Seoul,
the 10th largest of the world's megacities.
Back in the small town behind the pier we wandered the streets until we found the island's one grocer. After scouting the shelves we found a few more packs of noodles, some instant coffee and some biscuits, plenty to keep us going for the night. We followed the coast road West in search of a beach we had seen from the mountain top.
Shortly after passing a group of houses we found a drop off down to a sandy cove. We scrambled down through some pine trees an came out upon a beautiful sandy beach. As we walked along the beach we gradually rounded a point until we were tucked far out of sight of the small houses we had seen earlier and any other signs of life. We decided that this would be the perfect place to camp and after checking the high tide marks, we pitched our little tent up against the tree line.
I walked into the forest to go and get some wood for a fire, and next thing I knew Cath was running down the beach, right into the water. The water wasn't warm by
Admiring the view
Home is out over that sea... far away.
a long shot, but after the day's sticky hike it was the perfect way to freshen up. By the time she was out of the water, and wrapped shivering in a towel, I had a warm fire going on the beach. With Cath watching the fire I took the chance to go and play in the water myself, it was awesome.
After we'd both dried off at the fire, we boiled up some noodles and munched down. Then we pulled out our books and sat down by the fire to read. We must have sat there for about 4 hours, before we killed the fire, crawled into our sleeping bags and passed out.
Th next morning we walked back along the coast road to the ferry terminal to catch the morning ferry back to the mainland. It turned out that there was to be no morning ferry, because the tide was to low. Insted we had to wait until 5pm. Not really in a rush, we walked back to the little gocery store where we managed to find some fresh vegetables, a tin of tuna and even two ice-creams. We headed back to the pier ice-creams in hand
under under the sun. Back at the jetty we chopped up all the veggies, mixed them up with the tuna and ate it all on crackers, a pretty decent lunch.
By the time the ferry arrived we were really well rested and had taken decent chunks out of the books that we had carried along with us.
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