Greetings from the lowest point on earth!
The Dead sea is 427m below sea level, and is shrinking about 1.2m every year! It has an amazing 32% salinity, which contrasts with the 2% salinity of most oceans and seas. As King Hussein put it following the immense damages to Jordan from the First Gulf War, “It only goes up from here.”
Today is Dad and my one day to relax, played perfectly in the middle of the trip. We’ve been seeing so much and packing so much into each day, so it feels great to sit back and relax for a bit! This morning we slept in a little bit before heading down to “swim” in the Dead Sea. I say that in quotations because it is nearly impossible to swim in the Dead Sea. What one can hope to do instead is float, though it seems completely counterintuitive when it really comes down to it.
We wandered down to the water, and stepped into the sea. A part of me almost expected it to feel different than normal water, but when I first stepped in it felt like any other body of water, which made me question how I was supposed to float in it. I waded in, and then once the water was nearing my hips, I sat down back into the sea. It was the most indescribable feeling! At first I started to sink in, but then all of the sudden I was bouncing back up and floating on top of the water! I leaned back, and I was perfectly floating in the water. It’s the strangest feeling, because it completely goes against everything you’ve always known about water. Even if I had wanted to swim or tread water, it wouldn’t have been possible. Even trying to stay upright was a challenge; the best thing to do was allow yourself to float!
Next we struggled to get back out of the water so that we could cover ourselves with the famous Dead Sea mud known for its incredible healing powers for the skin. We didn’t exactly know what we were doing, but followed what everyone else was doing, and covered our bodies with thick, dark mud from head to toe. We had to let it sit and dry for 10 minutes, which was super difficult because it was so hot out today and when the sun hit us with the thick mud all over us it was hard to breathe! Once ten minutes were up, we waded back into the water and washed it all off while we floated.
It was such a cool feeling, and one that I’ll never forget! It’s crazy to think that the Dead Sea is shrinking so fast, and that soon people won’t have the opportunity to do what I did today!