Another thing off the bucket list: I have floated on the Dead Sea. Located on the border between Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea gets it name (cleverly) from the lack of life in this super salinated body of water. It is almost 400 meters below sea level, and the salinity of the water is a staggering 30%. Compared to the 7% usually found in the ocean, this water is a strikingly different composition.
We drove down the mountains from Petra to the Dead Sea, and it was a beautiful view. You can get some views of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the varying mountain landscapes of Jordan. You ears will pop the whole way down as the pressure changes due to the altitude drop. Once you’re at the bottom, the main highway runs along the sea so you can get a lovely view. There are many fancy resorts and hotels along the waterfront, all boasting about having the best “Dead Sea Spa”. But we just went to the public beach area for our swimming time.
After a quick change into our suits, we walked down along the beach and out into the water. None of the group had been here before, so we had no idea what to expect. But it was so much fun all walking in together and feeling our first experience of just pure floating. The water makes you so bouyant because of all the extra salt, and it literally takes no effort to float. It’s actually hard to keep you legs under the water. It will just push them up to the service it you have them at an angle under the water. It was a little difficult to swim, and the water feels different on your body. It feels almost oily! And it surprisingly makes it feel really moisturized and smooth, even though salt usually dries out the skin. It was a very strange sensation literally just bobbing around, doing no physical effort to stay float or with your head above water. I will forewarn any readers– absolutely do not shave the night/day before swimming here. It stings soooo badly! Not recommended. Also, don’t get the water in your eyes or mouth. Not a pleasant feeling.
But after an hour in the water, we all felt refreshed (although a bit hot, since the water is not much cooler than the air) and rejuvenated. People in Jordan say that the Dead Sea makes you look 10 years younger after only a short swim. I’m not sure if that’s true, but we certainly felt like we had washed off the cumulative exhaustion of 5 days traveling off us.