Here it is, the lowest point on Earth, the lake called Dead Sea. At 394.6 m below sea level it lies there, peacefully, its waters balancing in a no-wave position. Well, you cannot call them waves, if there are any …. swingings. Lakes are like that, chilled brothas :).
The Dead Sea is 67 km long and 18 km wide at its widest point, bordering Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Jordan River ends in the Dead Sea after flowing into the Galilee Sea, another low sea level lake on its upper course. Jericho lies somewhere at its northern edge, and a Red Sea channel is planed to be constructed at its southern end to preserve the lake from disappearing …. because it keep evaporating, this salty thing.
Take a relatively short-ride by Egged bus from the bus terminal in Jerusalem down to Massada and Ein Gedi to discover this wonder of the world. After visiting some other salty places, I was thinking of it as of something incredibly beautiful. Indeed.
The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest places on the planet (33.7%), although Lake Assal in Djibouti, the Caspian Sea (which is also a lake) and some Antarctic spots have registered some higher salinity. The Dead Sea is about 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. No fish would survive in it, but there are some algae and some bacteria being just fine with that amount of salt. The first thing I did after having arrived, was to run to the sea, dip my finger in the water and taste it, you know, just to make sure. Silly !!! NO, please save your curiosity away from the concentrated salt unless only for skin treatment!
Salt of all kinds of forms, colors, texture ….. creating a beautiful silent world! But I liked that, it didn’t look dead to me. If there’s something which creates anything, then there is life, right?
Sand driven from the desert would mix up with the salt, adding color to the landscape. Salt covers everything which ended up on the Dead Sea shores, bounding it, like in a trap.
The Dead Sea mud contains a lot of useful minerals for the skin. There are numerous mud bogs along the coast, where you can give yourself a great free spa treatment. This is a special place by all means, the sun is different, the air is different, the water is not what you’ve got used to. You literally feel and see your illnesses vanish and yourself getting better.
The Dead Sea coast is free for access. Camping is also allowed. Be careful of possible landslides and quicksand pits which are rather frequent in some places. It is, however, better to camp next to a public beach with showers. You wouldn’t survive without freshwater showers after swimming in that amount of salt. Make sure salt won’t touch any metallic objects (phones, cameras, laptops etc), as it could cause a lot of damage. If swimming in the Dead Sea, put your cloths on only after showering with freshwater.
Haha, it’s fun, this water, you could get across floating if you want to …. on your back, that is. If you swim with your face facing the water you risk getting the water in your eyes and then you’re DEAD!
Ein Gedi Reservation is a lush wadi full of life right next to the Dead Sea. I loved the daring Nubian Ibexes and the shy rock hyraxes! Deep in the wadi there is a beautiful waterfall and many trails for hiking with great views over the Dead Sea.
The sun brings color in …
Now imagine that those few pearls of salt which I took as a souvenir have been scanned piece by piece at the Ben Hurion Airport Departures…. Luckily, I did not take a handful of salt, otherwise it would have cost me another hour or two of screening ! Not that they would care about the salt being taken away, but it is their job to make sure it doesn’t beep!!! Screw that, I wish you strong nerves for the Israeli airport security staff! As their checks and procedures can be a big pain.
I traveled to the Dead Sea because I like salty environments, but I found out there’s a reality of no acceptance in the area, so the conflict is no way to end at anytime. You surely have heard of the conflict, but you did not really know what is it all about and why they still cannot make a deal about it all. It was not pleasant to discover the psychological pressure Palestinians have to put up with every day. It was roaming in the air. For example, Palestinians are allowed to visit the Dead Sea during the week days, that’s ….. when they are working. On weekends cars with Palestinian numbers would be asked to turn back, as only Israeli have access here during the weekends …. So when can they really visit? Like never, maybe.
Now you know a lil bit more about salt!
Some tiramisu, anyone?
Near Ein Gedi there is a public beach which is quite crowded because here you can find showers. Get into that floating, it’s your feathering time !!!!
The Dea Sea is one of my favorite places in the world and I wish the ugly conflict comes to and end. EVERYBODY should enjoy peace and accept each other! It’s about time!