The Jagged Coast
West of the Dathi Forest lies the Jagged Coast. This whole coastline is characterized by massive shear cliffs, rocky shores and unpredictable tides. North of Avanoel there are three known areas with safe harbors. Two lie within Breaker Bay, also known as the Bay of Tears which lies just northwest of the Echoriath Mountains. The Bay bears this name due to the many underwater rocks and shoals of the bay. Good charts or experienced navigators are a must for sailing these waters. The largest safe harbor Sea Keep harbor near the city of Tarin on the eastern side of the bay. Sea Keep is built right on a cliffside on the foundations of ruins left by the ancients and a leveled and cobbled road along the breakers leads to a watchtower/lighthouse. The ancient construction remaining is of massive black stone and Sea Keep makes an imposing site when entering the harbor. On the northern side of the bay lies a fishing village. The harbor is too shallow here for deep ocean going vessels but smaller ships and fishing boats are able to navigate the waters safely.
Pearl Diving around Breaker Bay
Text copied from "A History of Pearl Diving" Divers culled mollusks from the sea to be split and scoured for pearls within. It takes a unique and rare sequence for wild mollusks to produce pearls, so vast fields of ocean floor were overturned in the hunt. Nearly one ton of oysters could yield less than a handful of pearls. Scarcity and cost were high.
Ama are traditional female Japanese free-divers, popularized by Bond girl Kissy Suzuki in Ian Fleming’s, You Only Live Twice.
Divers were trained to stay under water for up 90 seconds, often descending to depths of 125 feet in a single breath. Some greased their bodies to conserve heat, or plugged their ears to prevent bursting. Others clipped their nose or gripped a stone to descend to the bottom. Most tied a basket or net to their bodies to collect their harvest.
Aggressive sharks, rays and eels share the same habitat. Undercurrents could pull divers for miles under water. Pressure at such depths could cause bleeding, vision loss, organ failure and blackouts. The price paid for the queen of gems and the gem of queens was staggering.
...ravenous demand from the "monarchies" ...drove the hunt for pearls...restricted the possession of pearls to the nobility.
Early ama were known to dive for seafood and were honored with the task of retrieving abalone for shrines and imperial emperors. Ama traditionally wear white as it was believed to ward off sharks. Early divers wore only a loin cloth but in the 20th century the divers adopted an all-white sheer diving uniform in order to be more presentable while diving.
Women began diving as ama as early as 12 and 13 years old, taught by elder ama. Despite their early start, divers are known to be active well into their 70s and are rumored to live longer due to their diving training and disciplines. One traditional article of clothing that has stood the test of time is their headscarves. The headscarves are adorned with symbols such as the seiman and the douman which have the function of bringing luck to the diver and warding off evil. The ama are also known to create small shrines near their diving location where they will visit after diving in order to thank the gods for their safe return. Ama practiced a breathing technique in which the divers would release air in a long whistle once they resurfaced from a dive. This whistling became a defining characteristic of the ama as this technique is unique to them.