Dead Sea – En Gedi

The Dead Sea (in Hebrew: Yam ha-Melakh literally: the Sea of Salt) is 412m below sea level and the lowest point on Earth. It is a natural border between Israel and Jordan. As we drove down from Jerusalem we saw entire mountain peaks below sea level. The Dead Sea takes its name from the complete lack of life in the large lake (actually 11 types of bacteria can be found in the Dead Sea). The salt water in the Dead Sea is 8x of the ocean and results in salt caking everything (last photo).

We visited the Dead Sea after our two hour hike through En Gedi. The first thing I noticed was how clear the water was (5th photo). As you walk into the sea you can see clearly down until the shallow ground steeps out and becomes dark. The water is cold with patches of warmth but doesn’t quite feel like water, but more like very dilute oil. Now everyone knows that they can float in the Dead Sea but I never realized it was so effortless. You literally walk into the lake and you can stay absolutely still and float. You can paddle a little to move but it’s much harder to try to swim. Also the water is so salty a drop in your eye stings for 5 minutes (I know), a drop on your tongue tastes like what I imagine bleach tastes like (I think I know), and a drop on an open wound feels like fire (I know). Only a small part of the beach was open to tourists (1st photo), but the more adventurous (us) could float farther and farther “out to sea,” or towards Jordan. We floated for about an hour until we had to leave (not because it was closing, but because the salt water started to burn everywhere). As we got out we realized that we were caked with salt and had to shower off. Down the beach was a large deposit of Dead Sea mud (which I am told has amazing exfoliating properties), where tourists would drench themselves (7th photo). The Dead Sea is pretty fun and amazing but make sure you bring lots of lotion.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on December 15, 2010.

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