The water was barely past my knees as I floated on the surface of the Dead Sea. No matter how hard I tried to touch the bottom with my feet, it just didn’t happen. So I bobbed like a cork in the sticky, salty water marvelling at this new-found buoyancy and read the paper.
Here, in southern Jordan I’m at the lowest point on earth, 430 metres below sea level in the mysterious Dead Sea. It’s a landlocked body of water that’s actually a lake. It has a single source of water coming from the Jordan River and is not connected to the ocean. Its landlocked nature causes the water to evaporate and leave behind massive amounts of salt, 10 times more than the ocean. No life lies beneath, if you haven’t already guessed by its name!
Shrinking at a rate of a metre every year, it’s scary. It’s already at a point where resorts that once had the Dead Sea lapping on their doorsteps now face a two kilometre trek down to its shore. Experts predict by 2050 the Dead Sea could be reduced to a puddle. Forget the places you want to visit before you die. This aquatic anomaly could be dead before you!
So why do we swim in the Dead Sea?
It’s believed to be a nature health spa. The Dead Sea’s rich, black mud has long been touted as the kale of the beauty world, creating a healthy mineral infusion for the body. The high concentration of magnesium, bromide and potassium provide a natural treatment for ailments ranging from psoriasis through to arthritis and allergies.
I can’t say I felt any different afterwards, but it was fun slapping on the silky mud and floating around effortlessly! Don’t worry, the mud does come out of your togs.
A word of caution – do not submerge your head or get the water in your eyes as they will seriously burn.