Water Skiing in Busan

As many of you already know, I have spent a lot of time in the port city of Busan.  For my ninth visit, I had the opportunity to put on a wet suit and head out on the ocean for some water skiing.  Once I arrived in Busan, after a good night’s rest, I headed out bright and early the next morning to Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU) located in Yeongdo-gu.

Photo with the KMOU president, professors, and students

KMOU was established in 1945 and is comprised of four colleges, five graduate schools, and has over 10,200 students.  It is the only university in Korea that specializes in maritime sciences and engineering.  Over the years, the university has seen visits by Korean Presidents Yun Posun, Park Chung-hee, and Lee Myung-bak.  The U.S. Embassy in Seoul and Consulate Busan have collaborated with the university several times in the past including our Coastal Cleanup Day Diving Project in 2015 and a relay swim that I participated in earlier this year.

Thank you President Park for your warm welcome!

I was greeted by KMOU President Park Han-il, who has recently been re-elected to a second term, as well as one of the water ski instructors, Professor Jang Jae-yong.  After speaking with them, I headed off to attend one of Professor Jang’s classes to speak with the students about their personal aspirations.  The water skiing itself was a great experience and I am thankful to KMOU for letting me take part in their class.  Afterwards, I had a nice discussion with the students over a delicious lunch of fried chicken and pizza.

Enjoying a nice discussion over fried chicken with the students

After lunch, I joined President Park Han-il on a boat tour of the Oryukdo islets.  There is a popular Korean song called “Come Back to Busan Port” by Cho Yong-pil that mentions the Oryukdo islets.  President Park Han-il shared a rousing rendition of the song on our tour with his great singing voice.

A boat tour of the Oryukdo islets (KMOU photo)

A sneak peek of the Oryukdo islets

Do you know how the islands got their name?  Literally translated, Oryukdo means “Five-Six Island.” When the tide is high, there are six visible islands.  However, when the tide is low, a small land-bridge that connects two of the islands becomes exposed, turning two of the islands into a single larger one—hence the name, “Five-Six Island.”  Regardless of how many islands are showing, they are very beautiful, and I want to thank President Park Han-il, Professor Jang Jae-yong, and all of the students and staff at KMOU for making this trip so fun and memorable. 

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