The Jeju women divers known as Haenyo, Jamyo, and Jamsu wear swimming goggles when diving under the sea. These goggles, called 'eyes' in the Jeju dialect, have gone by this name since the late 19th century. There are two styles of goggles : "small eyes" which look like small swimming goggles and "big eyes" that have a large single lens.
In the early days of diving, people used 'small eyes' but the 'big eyes' have been popular since 1960. The diving women would choose between the 'Guet eyes', a delicate frame with a wide view which stands up well in deep water with a heavier water pressure, and the 'Umjang-e eyes'. The 'big eyes' are made of metal or rubber, with the metal being the only choice before the common usage of rubber.
The taewak is a symbol of the women diving and in a sense their other selves. When you spot the floating taewak far out from shore, you know that these intrepid divers are working under the sea. The taewak is also called the dolung gourd and has many functions. The taewak can be clasped to their chests as a floatation device while swimming. The mangsiri can be hung on the taewak to store sea products that they have harvested or caught. When they have gone deep into the sea, they can find their way to the surface using the taewak as a guide. In the past, the divers used a gourd taewak but since the mid 1960s, they have used a polystyrene taewak.
The small taewak is used for girls under 16 years old. When the young women divers mature in their diving, they use a medium size taewak. The experienced divers use a large taewak. The women divers often paint their taewak to show which group they belong to.
The mangsiri is a bag that attaches to the taewak to store the sea products in while diving. Also known as mangsari, mangari, honsari, and hongari, depending on the region, it is more loosely woven than the hutmulmangsari. The mangsiri has a cylindrical net of 40 ~ 50 cm in diameter at the top and 70 cm in length with the lower section wider than the upper section. Modern mangsiri is made of nylon whereas the traditional one was made of the stems of young eulalia, sinsoeran (phormium tenax forst), or namchong. It takes more time to gather abalones than seaweed as divers have to prevent the taewak and mangsiri from floating away while gathering abalone. Anchor stones of 10 cm by 15 cm hold the taewak fast. The mangsiri has a small pocket (georak or keumulsudae) to store small catches such as baby abalones.
Along with the taewak and mangsiri, the bitchang is another useful tool for the divers. Made out of iron, it is 30cm in length and used to pick up abalones on the rock. The head of the bitchang is rolled into a round shape with a rope grips whereas the Japanese style has a short grip that resembles a knife handle. In the past, the rope was made of human hair before the advent of nylon and elastic string. The women divers grab the rope and dive under the deep sea to harvest abalones.
Unlike the metal bitchang, in the past it was made out of antler in both Jeju and Japan.
Junggae Weeding Hoe
The weeding hoe is a tool to cut and gather sea plants such as seaweed, gulfweed, and gamtae. It has alternately been called gae hoe, gaehomaengi, and water hoe. In the Jeju dialect, the sickle is also called a weeding hoe and the junggae hoe resembles the sickle as well.
The gongjaengi is a tool to hook a gamtae that has been pushed by the wind to shore.
A rake is needed on the ship to gather wide brown seaweed.
The gakji is used to pick up shellfish and baby abalones out of the cracks in the rocks. It is similar to a
weeding hoe used in the field but has a much longer blade. It is also known as the gaengi, homaengi, and kakuri.