Dead Sea Excursion

the dead sea

The Dead Sea is not actually a sea, but a lake that sits at the lowest point on earth, 400 meters below sea level. Its extremely high salt concentration (almost ten times that of most oceans) kills off almost all marine life, hence the name the Dead Sea. The Jordan River feeds its waters, but because the river is also being diverted for irrigation, the Dead Sea is rapidly shrinking; it’s likely that in less than a century it will no longer exist.

The water and the sulphurous mud it creates have been renowned for centuries for their rich mineral content and healing powers. The high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, bromine, sulphur and bitumen in Dead Sea water has been said to heal skin diseases and ease joint pain. The buoyancy of the water makes swimmers bob like corks and if you have any open cuts, the salt will sting. For maximum health benefits, stay in the water for 15 to 20 minutes and then slather up with the black mud from the shore. Once the mud has dried, you can rinse off in the outdoor showers and your skin will be silky soft.

Note that while many consider this a must-visit, the Dead Sea is a huge tourist attraction and most experiences will be very crowded and can sometimes feel dirty.

Tips: Avoid putting the mud on your face if you have dry skin, and do not get water near your eyes. The high salt concentration of the water can be painful. And while the haze that hangs over the Dead Sea is said to filter UVB rays and therefore allow you to tan, not burn, sunscreen is recommended. It’s important to stay well hydrated as well; the combination of the heat and the low elevation can be very dehydrating.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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