Please excuse the hairy leg in the picture, but it happens to be the only picture I took of the dead sea when I was there. I think I was quite self concious by the fact that people probably wouldn't want someone snapping away at their oh so untrimmed bods in water with salt concentration of up to 31%. Not that the salt concentration would have anything to do with it, just thought I would add that. Makes me sound clever.
The Dead Sea, not actually a sea but a lake, is situated between Israel and the West Bank on the West, and Jordan to the east. It is called the Dead Sea because hardly any fish can survive in it due to it's hypersalinity (extreme concentration of salt). This in turn, is caused by the fact that it is land locked, so whatever minerals that are deposited into the body of water (in this case salt from the surrounding rocks) cannot flow out, as in other bodies of water.
With a concentration of over 30%, which is about 9 times higher than the Mediterranean Sea, it has an amazing effect on the body. Have you ever done that trick where you have made an egg float in salt water? Well, that's basically the same as what happens. It's pretty much impossible to drown in it unless you turn over, and can't turn back round. It's also a great environment if you wanna learn how to swim. Those are the up sides of Swimming in the Dead Sea. The down sides are, it's really, REALLY salty, so...well you know what happens when you put salt on wounds right? Well this is multiplied about 9 times, literally. Even if you don't have a cut, the salt finds, and manages to get into any and every little nook and cranny that your body possesses. So, if you've just had a shave, a hair cut, a wax (bikini ouch!!) don't even try it. I didn't have any of these when I went in for a
swim float, but the salt still managed to make my "jingles" tingle. Tingle being the word of choice because it rhymed with jingle. The pain actually increased the longer I stayed in the water, like the salt was staging a continuous attack on whichever parts of my body showed a weak defence. Needless to say, I made good use of the nearby showers on regular occasion, and retired early to the side of the lake, where I took the above picture.
The other down side of swimming in the Dead Sea, at least for my friend Johnson, is that the salt somehow made its way into his brain, and affected his better judgement. Johnson, shown on the picture on the right, passed the safety border (which I have highlighted in green) with the intention of crossing over to Jordan on the other side. If he succeeded, that could have meant imprisonment, or possibly death, which we were duely warned of. Unreasonable one may say, but in the light of the political heat at the time, and what it developed to be in hindsight, I wouldn't think anyone would have argued, apart from Johnson of course. Luckily for Johnson, and probably for the rest of us too, his laziness over took his stupidity, and he decided to save his blatent disregard for authority in a foreign and potentially hostile land for another sunny day.
Floating in the Dead Sea was one of the most amazing experiences I had. The feeling of floating in the water, or being suspended above the water (if that makes sense) for want of a more accurate description, is one that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.