part one, part two, part three, part four
Day Three: Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) and Udo Island
This whole trip was leading up to day 3 as far as I was concerned. Having clocked up 170km in two days this day was effectively to be a rest day despite it involving a 5:30 am wake up call courtesy of a collaboration between Black Box and my iPhone 4. Today we would be doing two things: climbing Seongsan Ilchulbong for the sunrise and heading over to Udo Island to spend the afternoon.
We got up to the top of sunrise peak just after 6am. It was busier than when I previously saw the sunrise there in February but it was not unreasonably crowded. The best part of the sunrise is as the orange glow starts to rise beyond the horizon quite a while before the sun shows its face.The colour contrast at this point is wonderful and it still remains relatively quiet up there. Most of the tourists don't arrive at the peak until moments before the sun actually pops up.
My ugly mug enjoying every moment. It was bloody cold!
This is the moment the sun popped up. Sean predicted that all of the Koreans would start clapping the moment it appeared and he wasn't far off with that guess. There was no clapping but you could hear the gasps of relief as the sun shone and everybody realised that the world was still turning and that we weren't living in a dream having perished during the night.
At this point it was time to get down from there as it was way too bright to be looking east any longer. I knew I should have brought my sunglasses.
This is the lighthouse on Udo Island as seen from Seongsan Ilchulbong at sunrise. We would be spending our afternoon over there staring in the opposite direction wondering why we weren't tucked up in bed sleeping.
In the opposite direction from Seongsan Ilchulbong you can see Hallasan. It was going to be fantastically clear skies this day. This photo isn't all that special but it illustrates some of the more ill thought out planning on Jeju. Why not stick a wind farm in front of a spectacular view? Some decisions astound me. Perhaps they will stick a few on the top of Hallasan next. It's not implausible. They are planning on building an American naval base on this island. Perhaps there will be an aircraft carrier launch ramp coming down the mountain? Ha ha.
Nothing beats waking up to the sun glistening off the ocean.
There's a whole bunch of photos from this spot. This is the view of Seongsan Ilchulbong from our apartment just after we had our late breakfast of Jeongbok Juk (abalone porridge - a banging, hearty dish) It looks great from here at any point in the day.
Jenny spent the night in Pyoseon Beach because her knees were aching pretty badly the day before. She missed out on the sunrise action, but she showed up in time for lunch before we caught the ferry to Udo Island.
Fired and ready to go! I love the cheeky Dalharubong statue lurking into shot in the right hand side of the photo. I didn't have a clue he was there. Look at his cheeky grin, he was planning it all along!
Ship in the harbour at Seongsan.
Leaving Seongsan harbour for Udo. This was the best weather we could have hoped for with perfect views of Hallasan all day long. The blue colours really were this intense, no trickery!
Up close and personal. This is a haenyo - an ageing female diver who collects shellfish from the rocks at the bottom of the sea. You can spot them all over the island hard at work. It's not an easy lifestyle! Usually Koreans can be quite awkward about you taking their picture, but the haenyo didn't bat an eyelid. They are are held in particularly high esteem in Korea, which explains why Jeju island is peppered all over with statues of them. I didn't see one man diving in our whole time on this island. So, to all the young girls tottering around the cities of Korea, take your heels off and start grafting!
The Jeju-icidal crew. Completely natural pose. I didn't put my camera on a tripod and dash across the jetty to get into the picture. Honest!
Jenny doesn't like this picture but it has to go in. In Vietnam she tried to pet every animal she saw whether it be a piglet, a pet dog or even a buffalo. Usually they are not too keen on Jenny's advances, but here you can catch a rare glimpse of her being accepted by the animal kingdom, hence the smiles for miles.
Yet another haenyo statue.
Andy didn't sit down the entire trip, I swear.
Let's go! It was a bit chilly and the winds were high but we were determined to go for a dip. These beaches are fine white sand and the water was crystal clear but the photos don't really do it justice. Surprisingly the water was really warm. I would have stuck around for longer had the winds dropped. It was a bit of nightmare trying to get changed after this though.
The photos below are from the hike up to the lighthouse where you get great views of Seongsan Ilchulbong, Hallasan and down over the rest of Udo Island.
I nearly wiped out taking this photo!
Jenny and Sean made it just on time for the ferry having bought some orange makkoli for the short ferry ride back to Seongsan Ilchulbong.
Another view of Seongsan Ilchulbong from our apartment during the golden hour!
Now this is what I'm talking about. Some cold beers on the balcony watching the sun set behind Hallasan. That is why room 301 is so damn good! The balcony was concealed behind some frosted windows so initially we didn't even realise it was there. The owners haven't made a feature of it, yet it would be perfect it they put a little table out there.
One thing we found a bit odd is that Seongsan Ilchulbong is billed as "Sunrise Peak". You get great views of both the sun rising over the ocean and of the sun setting behind the mountain. We decided it should be re-branded as "Multi-Purpose Peak". Any other suggestions?
(photos: Alasdair & Jenny)
part one, part two, part three, part four