Feeling Alive in the Dead Sea

By Abi King | Jordan

Dec 21

Panorama of the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, Jordan

Let’s face it, the Dead Sea has a depressing name. It also fizzes the synapses by sounding too much like Red Sea.

Red Sea, Dead Sea. Red Sea. Dead Sea.

Completely easy enough to tell apart until the in-the-moment talking about them both when white panic sets in. A similar thing happens when I’m on a clifftop (or mountaintop) path. What if my brain suddenly fails me and I forget how to walk and plunge from the cliff into the abyss for a (likely very painful) eternity.

But I digress.

Dead Sea Shoreline

Fun in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a place of fun. As the lowest point on earth (427 metres below sea level,) its hypersalinity (loads of salt) make it impossible for life to survive. It also makes it entirely possible for adults to turn into children as they flip about like penguins on an oil-slicked underwater escalator…wearing lead-reinforced helmets.

You see, it’s hard to swim in the Dead Sea. It’s like trying to tap dance on ice.

It’s hard to swim in the Dead Sea. It’s like trying to tap dance on ice.

Years of innate proprioception (the idea that you know where parts of your body are without looking at them) fly straight out the window – or rather float left, right and centre in this hypersaline giant pond – as every stroke of effort front flips, backflips and cawhips (yes I made that last one up) and you float wherever the sea wants to send you.

And woe betide the innocent should their tongue snatch a taste of the water of death: as befits its name, it’s disgusting.

Close up salt crystals in the Dead Sea

Beautiful…but deadly

Absurdity in the Dead Sea

But the final absurdity in this crystalline expanse is another effect it has on human behaviour. There in the Jordan Rift Valley, with Israel on one side and Jordan on the other, grown adults become seemingly possessed.

For one, they grab a newspaper in a language they can’t read and battle to make it into the water without getting it wet. They float like rudderless cheery souls as they try to assemble for a photo. And for the finale, they slather themselves in thick black mud to create a slick human wetsuit before hopping back into the sea to wash it off.

And all this in the name of beauty (or perhaps, one suspects, the quest for a good photo.)

Either way, don’t they look gorgeous?!

Dead Sea-5


Slathering mud

Floating with newspapers in the Dead Sea

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 22.03.01


I am one of the people in said photographs. The others are the talented folk from The Travel Bite and Beers and Beans. We may  – or may not – actually be gorgeous without infringing upon your statutory rights. 

As it happens, I travelled to Jordan as part of iAmbassador’s #GoJordan project in partnership with Visit Jordan. As ever, as always, I kept the right to write what I like and think what I like. Otherwise, y’know, why bother with it all?! Just take up a better paid job in marketing instead ;-)

And PS – Go and visit the Dead Sea if ever you get the chance. It’s amazing. And great fun (although it does taste bad and it stings if you cut yourself on a rock…)

Would you like to go and have fun in the Dead Sea?

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