One of the most well-known bible stories is that of Moses parting the sea to allow the Jews to escape their Egyptian masters. But there’s an annual sea parting that is much lesser known that proves that you don’t need divine intervention to walk across the ocean floor.
Jin Island (or Jindo) is the host to an annual celebration for the parting of the seas, which happens each year on this island in southern Korea. It’s an odd site to behold. Hundreds of people wait patiently for the lowest tides of the year, which reveal a long, narrow path across the ocean floor to a nearby island, Modo.
There’s an old legend that goes with the parting of the sea. In an attempt to escape the wild tigers that were plaguing the citizens of southern Korea, families boarded boats and headed to the tiger-free island of Modo. But a poor old lady, known as Grandma Ppong was left behind. So she prayed to the Dragon King of the Sea, and one day an ocean path was revealed as the waters parted. Grandma Ppong went as fast as she could to Modo, but collapsed half way where her family met her–and she died in their arms. I didn’t say it was a happy story.
And so each year the legend is celebrated with food, dancing, drums and a parade from Modo to Jindo. I was able to make it more than half way across where I was met by the parade banging their instruments and holding banners. But just like Grandma Ppong, there wasn’t enough time to make it to the island (without being trapped there) and so I hurried back to the land as the waters began to quickly rise.
All photos by Michael Johnstone.