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  • Day12

    Apr 13 - The Dead Sea

    April 13, 2018 in Jordan ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    How nice to not have an early departure today! We got up at our leisure and had breakfast. The hotel has a very nice breakfast buffet - both hot and cold items, including waffles that Doug tried. Everything is labelled in English. Doug and Frances and I decided to head down to the hotel's private beach on the Dead Sea. There is a little shuttle bus that runs twice per hour, but we could see that it would't be far, so we walked. It was a beautiful, warm morning - the high for today is forecast to be 30 deg. C. but that won't be until late this afternoon. The walk took less than 10 minutes.

    Here's some Wikipedia info about the Dead Sea:

    The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and Palestine to the west. Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, (in 2011), it is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean and one of the world's saltiest bodies of water. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

    The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.

    The Dead Seawater has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating.

    The Dead Sea is receding at an alarming rate. Multiple canals and pipelines were proposed to reduce its recession, which had begun causing many problems. The Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance project, carried out by Jordan, will provide water to neighbouring countries, while the brine will be carried to the Dead Sea to help stabilise its levels. The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021.

    We had the beach to ourselves since it was just 8:30 a.m. There is a sign that says it's the lowest point on earth, but it's not quite right. At 398 metres below sea level, it's short by about 32 metres. The actual lowest point is on the Israeli side at the En Gedi Spa (had my picture taken there last year beside the official sign). The beach here is very tough to walk on - the sand is very coarse and with small, sharp rocks. The area under the water is very, very rocky and the walking is very tough. I made it past the rocks to the sandy bottom area. Doug stayed back and was the official photographer. The water is hypersalinated so you float very easily. The tough part is getting your feet back down - you have to pull your legs and feet up to your chest and then push them down. Swimming on your front is almost impossible because you keep turtling over onto your back. I paddled around for bit and Frances waded in to waist level. We both agreed that the beach that we went to on the Israeli side was much more enjoyable. It had a sandy shore and the ground under the water was the famous Black Sea mud which was soft on the feet - we smeared over ourselves to renew our skin. Although it was very busy and quite noisy, it was all-round, a more pleasant experience.

    We passed several others from our group on their way down to the beach on our way back. Apparently they were treated to a visit by a herd of camels. Too funny.

    I needed a long, hot shower after that - the water in the Dead Sea has an oily quality to it. I had time to do this writeup and then do some reading before our departure at 1:00 p.m. Ruby made it to the hotel in good time.
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