Last month, I went on another Seoul Expat Meetup Group outing to Muchangpo Beach for the sea parting event. This sea parting is not the most famous one in Korea. The most famous one is the sea parting in Jindo, and each year in the spring (typically March or April, depending on the lunar cycle for the year) is the annual Jindo Sea Parting Festival where for roughly an hour, the sea parts to reveal the sea floor underneath and people are able to walk across it to a nearby sandbar. I considered going to the Jindo festival this year, but once I found out that the actual sea parting was around 0500 in the morning when it was completely dark and therefore I would have been unable to see anything, I decided not to go.
So when I saw the notice for the Muchangpo sea parting meetup, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see a sea parting, even if it is not the same grand scale as Jindo. The meetup was an entire day trip down to Muchangpo Beach in the morning, and an afternoon stop at the nearby Daechon Beach. The day’s weather was gray and cloudy, but warm, and thankfully not raining.
The term “sea parting” is a bit of a misnomer, and brings to mind the image of Moses parting the Red Sea. What is really going is a very extreme low tide, and in the case of Muchangpo, it is tied to the lunar cycle.
During this particular trip, the sea parting was from 1100-1200 on Sunday, June 15th. We arrived on site around 1030, and the tide was still going out. We started making the crossing at about 10 minutes until 1100, and the water was about mid calf deep at the time. We crossed to a small rocky outcropping that was exposed during the sea parting.
There really isn’t much to do on the tiny island (if you can call it that, since it was basically just exposed rocks), but walk around and look at stuff that is normally underwater. All around, there were groups of Koreans digging in the sand for all sorts of buried creatures to make into a nice meal.
The seaweed covered many of the rocks and was a very glistening green that almost looked painted on. We saw a wide variety of colorful starfish just hanging out in the waving seaweed.
It was interesting to walk around and see stuff that is normally buried under several feet of water, and only occasionally see the light of day for a brief period.
After the hour was up, these air raid-like sirens sounded with an announcement in Korean and I assume telling us to return to the beach before the tide came in. As we walked back, the water level was lower than when we headed out to sea and it was only a couple inches deep in places and the path was clearly marked with buried tires.
However, not that long after noon, the tide started coming back in. Shortly after that, everything that was exposed to us was completely covered in water again, hidden only to be viewed again during the next sea parting.