Mermaids Are Real (And Their Reality Is Almost Better Than Our Imaginings)

“Haenyos do the work of the dead in the land of the living.”

Here's photographer Mijoo Kim, talking about her "The Mother of the Sea" project:

The subjects reflected in my work are called “Haenyo,” literally meaning “sea women” in Korean. These women have a century-old history of making their own living by catching oysters, sea cucumbers, abalones, sea urchins, and squids. They hold their breaths for over two minutes and dive to depth of twenty meters without using any diving equipment. Being a Haenyo is certainly not meant to be for the weak; hence the saying in Korea, “Haenyos do the work of the dead in the land of the living.”

Here's a Great Big Story video covering the same amazing group of women:

Every day, Kim Ok Ja dons a wetsuit and snorkel, grabs a fishing spear and a net, and dives into the Pacific Ocean to hunt for conch and sea life that her family can eat or sell. She is 78 years old and shows no sign of slowing down. Based on the Korean island of Jeju, she is one of a dwindling group of women divers known as a “Haenyeo.”
Attribution(s): Images are the property of Mijoo Kim and are embedded from her Instagram page.