Across the street from our village and about a quarter-mile down the beach, sit several lonely, dirty, and forgotten looking boats. They’ve just been left on the top of a mound of sand with fishing nets and turquoise rope strewn about them and the surrounding ground. But they are definitely not abandoned. Someone must own them.
These crude looking boats have an iron or some other type of metal frame. Big chunks of Styrofoam–yes, Styrofoam–are stuffed into the frames and each boat has a set of wooden oars.
I’m not sure what they are used for. Perhaps local fisherman use them to get out to the other boats anchored in the water. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to take these things too far out into the sea away from dry land. As you can see, they aren’t what you would call sturdy.
On the day I snapped these photos, there were two people out digging for clams. At least that’s what it looked like from afar. It looked like they had left some of their equipment and clothes by the boats, so maybe they are the boat owners.
I wonder how long the boats will be able to just hang out on the beach? Clearly, no one was worried about them being stolen. And, clearly, no one was worried about them rotting away over the cold winter months. But pretty soon a new marina is going to be built, from what we’ve heard. This is probably bad news for these little guys. Who knows when the marina will be completed, but construction work has already begun.
I’m guessing the new and improved marina is going to replace the one located a little farther down the beach. Most of the boats there look like they’ve seen better days too, but clearly people are still using them, their Chinese flags flying proudly in the wind. I could see guys out working on some of the boats and the soft hum of motors filled the air the day I took these photos.
Check out this bad boy, which one sees every time they head towards Haiyang.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable hopping on this thing — unless of course my life depended upon it. Just a few weeks ago, I watched a BBC documentary about a North Korean family escaping from North to South Korea. The family left North Korea on foot and in the middle of the night crossed the border into China. From there, they chartered a boat — just like the one pictured above — that took them out into the middle of the Yellow Sea where they met another boat — just like the one pictured above — and transferred to it. I couldn’t believe that something so amazing and courageous had happened in the very body of water that lies just across the street from our village. The second boat was transporting the family to South Korea — and it did, but not before being stopped and searched by South Korean authorities. Luckily, the escapees were not sent back North where they would’ve surely been shot. Instead, they were detained in a South Korean facility and after six months were released and allowed to live with family members who were already South Korean citizens. It was a gut-wrenching, emotional journey to watch, but thankfully, it had a happy ending.