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Silver 2019 Editorial / Environmental

Grandma Divers

  • Photographer
    Alain Schroeder

Jeju island, known for its basalt volcanic rock, sits off South Korea. It is the home of the Haenyeo or women of the sea who free dive off the black shores of Jeju harvesting delicacies from the sea. Wearing thin rubber suits and old fashioned goggles, this aging group of women (50 and many are well over 70) are celebrated as a national treasure and inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, but the tradition is slowly fading as fewer women choose this hazardous profession.