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Moving to Korea...

Discussion in 'South Korea' started by OtherHalf, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. OtherHalf

    OtherHalf Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Virginia
    I'm moving (at the behest of the Army) to S. Korea in a few weeks. My dive gear is already all packed up and on its way over. I'm looking for tips or advice on who to contact. I've already got an email address for a PSAI contact, but I'm looking for more information. I noticed that there was not a Korean Peninsula forum on SB, so I'm wondering where all the divers hang out and spill the beans on the trips, local hot spots, etc.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Torrance, CA
    OtherHalf likes this.
  3. OtherHalf

    OtherHalf Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Virginia
    Is your friend still there? I'd really love some contacts in the area. I'm sure I can find other army divers but I'd really rather meet up with new interesting people. And not kill them. I want them to survive. Not like the t-shirt... But new and interesting is good. What is the point of going to another country and hanging out qith the same people I do when I'm in the states. No broadening value to that...
  4. scoobydrew

    scoobydrew Master Instructor


    hey there, I lived in Korea for 3.5 years teaching SCUBA diving so can offer you some info.

    There are many dive centres up and down the country but few who are set up to deal with English speakers. The foreign owned/staffed operations are

    Aquatic Frontier - Based on a USAF base in Osan, contact Alan
    Deep Blue Quest - Based in Seoul, contact Russ
    Sea World Dive Centre - Based in Busan, contact Jen or JoLeen
    Big Blue 33 on Jeju island - contact Ralf.

    Whoever you dive with you are going to need good thermal protection ideally a dry suit. Summer can be pushed in a 5mm or even less on the south coast but this is too small a window. Buying dive gear in Korea is insanely expensive so make sure you have everything you need before you go especially if you are considering buying a dry suit.

    I started a dive community while I was there that was for foreigners and Koreans of all walks and that is still going on check out the facebook page Busan SCUBA and hook up with them, they run out of Sea World Dive Centre and are very active. I immagine you will be based near Seoul though so will likely be diving more with Allen or Russ, it's all good.

    Conditions in Korea are challenging visibility can range from a few feet to 60 feet but usually on the lower end of that scale.

    You'll work it out, Korea is awesome, I loved it and although the diving there is tough it can be rewarding. Also you are a skip away from the Philippines, you can get cheap flights to world class diving over there through Cebu Pacific.

    Drop me a line if you want to know anything more specific.

    OtherHalf likes this.
  5. OtherHalf

    OtherHalf Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Virginia
    I sent all my gear over. Double lp104s, al100, and an al30 bailout. Plus regs, fins, etc. Ive still got my 8/7 wetsuit here but it'll go over too. I just didnt have another wetsuit I could use for diving between now and then. I'll maintain an APO while im there so shipping gear shouldnt be too bad. I havent made the dryauit plunge yet but I'm sure I will. Winter diving in the st. Lawrence is slowly breaking my spirit and I want to get warm.

    I'll shoot you a pm later when ive got more time to bounce around some questions.
  6. jayjay70

    jayjay70 New

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SEOUL
    I am a part-time CMAS instructor and run a social dive club inside my company. I served as a KATUSA sergeant at the US Army in the early 90's here in Korea so I understand a lot about US military culture. Drop me a line if you would like to explore the seas of Korea with me and my scuba team. I have dived almost 1,000 times for the last 26 years mainly in Korea including Jeju and Ulleungdo and dive points worldwide. jayhyongkim@gmail.com
  7. Traff

    Traff Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Jeju, Korea
    I've lived on Jeju for 3 years and will be leaving for good next week. Ralf at Big Blue 33 has the only fluent English speaking divers on the staff on the island - Ralf is German and lectured in languages at Jeju University before he set up his shop. He has several ex-pat divers as dive masters too who live on the island.

    Jeju is a 1 hour plane ride from Seoul- I think EastarJet has the cheapest flights, but check the Korea Flight app for domestic flights in Korea.

    The diving in Jeju is incredible. The waters off the south side of the island tends to be a degree or two warmer than the north. At Little Munsom, an island 5 minutes off the coast of Jeju, you will have a totally different diving experience depending on which direction you take from the entry point. Soft corals, kelp forests, a whole range of fish, obviously depending on season. On my last dive before I packed up my gear I saw cardinal fish laying eggs, a huge grouper (as well as a couple of smaller ones) frog fish, cuttle fish, scorpion fish some flounder and a ray!

    Between September to early November I use a 5mm wetsuit. From December to now, I put a 10mm shortie over the top, but others use a drysuit. In fairness, this month I could have probably done without the shortie- the water was 20 degrees on my last dive. The fishermen's councils which tend to be controlled by the Haenyo- traditional women skin divers - are fiercely protective of their territory and some waters are off limits to recreational divers.

    Ralf's prices are good and he has a fully equipped shop so you wouldn't have to take all your gear on the plane if there were tight weight limits. The ex-pat divers who use his shop are all good fun and several live locally, so visits to Jeju might be worthwhile for you.

    Sorry we won't get to meet, but enjoy it in my absence!

    ---------- Post added June 19th, 2014 at 11:03 PM ----------

    Sorry, forgot to say that diving on Jeju does tend to close down from late December until March.
  8. modustollens

    modustollens Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Canada
    I dove with Big Blue. Ralf is very friendly. There are cool rock formations under the water there. It was like flying through canyons.


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