This was the third beach camping weekend in a row for Nicole and I and they were only getting better. The previous weekends were only one night, but fortunately for us we had a long weekend so we camped for 2 nights and three days.
Getting out to Bijindo
Our friend Brendan bought a car recently, Walter Whitecar, that we used for our Namhae weekend. This weekend he drove all of us out to the ferry port for the weekend trip. The port was packed. We navigated maze-like alleys congested with other small Korean cars and finally managed to find a parking spot not too far from the ferry terminal and right in front of a little Kimbap shop. Bags in hand, we shlepped out way to the terminal to meet the rest of the crew. At this point, there was a pretty vibrant foreign community in the Jeolla province that we were familar with so many of the faces in the camping group were recognizeable.
From the ferry terminal we took a ferry out to Bijindo Island. It’s a small island, well two islands, sort of. It’s one island shaped like a bowtie with a strip of sandy beach in the middle connecting the two sides. There’s great fishing, a few restaurants, some hiking trails and beach camping. We set up our tents along the water and made camp. Nicole and I had recently bought one of those tents that springs open, like those collapsible laundry hampers everyone had in college.
Laying about the Beach and Having Bonfires
The first day was a lot of fun in the ocean and grilling up food. Our friend Emily lent us her propane grill so we were able to cook up a bunch of veggies and seafood with Conor and Naomi, friends from Gwangyang.
Hiking Waesan Mountain
The second day, a friend and I hiked up Waesan mountain. It’s the tallest point in the area and taller than a great many of the surrounding islands as well so it offers a heck of a view from the top. The hike isn’t too challenging. I did it in sperry’s, shorts, and a t-shirt. However, Koreans love gear, so many of them were treating this 3 hour hike like they were summiting Everest.
From the top you can see the full outline of Bijindo. It’s truly a sight to behold. We stayed at the top for a while, just drinking in the scenery before the trek back down. That night we had another bonfire and cooked up more veggies. People busted out guitars and sang. South Africans cooked sausages in beer. We had marshmallows with ingredients bought piece by piece from a variety of convenience stores around Jeolla province.
In the morning, I woke to see the sunrise and enjoy the calm morning air. Korea has some of the best sunrises of any place I’ve ever visited. They’re soft and red and very calming. I don’t really know a better way to describe them without just showing you.
Returning from Island Life
After an awesome weekend of hiking, bonfires, and beach camping, it was time to return to society and life in sleepy old Gwangyang. There are many more adventures to come, but I will not soon forget my weekend in Bijindo.
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