Monday, 9 September 2013

Our Weekend: Shark Diving and Star Gazing

This weekend has been busy, busy.

On Friday Nick had a surprise in store for me, and I was instructed to be at Gupo station by 7. He hustled me onto the metro at Gupo, we rode the purple line North of Deokcheon, somewhere I'd never been before, we got off at a station I'd never heard of and then we piled into a taxi. We drove out of town and the taxi driver started heading up the mountain like he was an F1 driver. He eventually came to a stop and said that because of the rain earlier in the day the road was closed and we would have to make our own way.

We were in the middle of nowhere, the ground was wet from earlier and it was so so eerily quiet apart from the hum of the bugs in the trees. We started off up a path and periodically we'd pass street lamps that had little planets built into them. A big hint that we were headed for Gimhae's observatory.

I'm not used to it being so quiet in Korea, it was dark apart from the dim lights that lit the path, and because of the weather it was really foggy. It felt like we were on the set of a Spielberg film. I definitely expected to look up and see ET sat in the front of a BMX crossing the moon, or for a T-Rex to burst out of the trees.

We finally got to the top (with a lot of puffing and panting on my part) and bought tickets for the show. We had enough time to take in the view of Gimhae from the top of the mountain before we were called into the planetarium. Unfortunately it was so cloudy that we didn't see a single star. Two guides were waiting for us and explained that we were the only people in the show, they were very apologetic about their English, but they managed to explain all the constellations perfectly! Afterwards we chatted with them and they asked if we could all meet up again one day for lunch, they were so friendly!

We walked around the exhibition and eventually decided to leave, it was only then that it dawned on us that it was highly unlikely for taxis to be waiting around at the top of the mountain, so we had a late night hike back into town again. By the time we got back to Deokcheon we were starving, so went for a quick BBQ before we went home and fell asleep.

The next day we were pretty lazy until Nick went to football, then I headed into KSU to meet everyone as Alex had his mum visiting and we were going to show her the delights of makeolli and kimchi jeon.

Sunday was what I was really excited about, Nick's parents and sister bought him the experience to go diving in Busan Aquarium. We were up and out bright and early, and grabbed a coffee on the beach before meeting the instructor at 9. There Micheal, the guide, led us through the basics of diving, got us in the pool and gave us some training. By that time I was pretty freaked out about breathing under water, and what to do if the mouth piece fell out, but after lots of practise it was time to go diving!

It turned out that it wasn't the sharks that I had to be worried about, but rather the turtles, who have to be locked up throughout the dive because they get a little snap happy with people's digits. The sharks barely even glanced at us. I loved that there was always loads of little fish swimming right by the shark's side, it turns out this is because the shark isn't interested in eating the smaller fish, and other animals daren't go after the little ones so as not to grab the shark's attention.

Down in the tank we got to search for shark teeth apparently sharks lose their teeth regularly. We also waved at the people who could see us through the tunnel, and were particularly amused when Nick started dancing Gangnam Style. Another person in our group was a cartoonist, so the guide had arranged for some equipment to be taken down, so that he could do his shark cartoon in the water while it was being filmed, that really drew a crowd of onlookers too and was pretty impressive.

It was so much fun, it's really made me want to dive some more. The guide was great and all the people were really good too, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try something different.

After that we took a well deserved lazy afternoon including a beach nap on Haeundae which is amazingly peaceful now that the beach is 'closed' for winter and got some food before bed.

I hope that you had a great time!

Eerie observatory View of Busan

Eerie observatory

Eerie observatory

Eerie observatory

Eerie observatory

Fountain

Makeolli Kettle

Group Photo

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