Over 400m below sea level, the Dead Sea was one of the most surprising, unique experiences on my Jordan journey. Coming from someone who has grown up in the ocean and spent as much of my waking childhood hours in the water as out of it, I was completely shocked by my Dead Sea submersion… or attempted submersion since technically I couldn’t completely submerge myself in the Dead Sea.
The largest natural spa in the world, and the lowest point on the face of the earth, the Dead Sea receives a number of incoming rivers, including River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea, they are landlocked and have nowhere to go so they evaporate, leaving behind salts and minerals.
8.6 times saltier than the ocean, it’s impossible to sink in the Dead Sea. I had known this fact before entering the sea, but I didn’t grasp the full concept. I was shocked by what happened when I dropped myself into the water. It was more like sitting in Jell-O (not the texture, but the buoyancy). I sat upright and gained my balance; my entire upper half was out of the water. It was totally bizarre. Forget trying to swim; it is definitely a float kind of place.
Equally shocking was how much it hurt. I’ve heard the saying, “like putting salt on a wound” but now I can say it with more conviction. Jordan is in my top five countries in the world to visit but its beautiful surroundings and diverse landscapes were hard on me. I entered the Dead Sea with more scrapes and cuts than a Crash Test Dummy. It may have been helping me heal but the accelerated rate was too much for me. I followed the 20 minute time suggestion because I just couldn’t stand any more “healing”.
We tested the waters by trying different positions and laughed at how everyone looked like they were sitting on a water noodle. Although all of the pictures look like people are sitting on sand or only knee deep, we are actually over our heads. While it is tempting to try and duck your head in the water, I heed a warning – if you think it burns your skin, wait until you get it in your mouth or eyes! Take my word for it and avoid eye or mouth contact.
Jordan is filled with new adventures around every corner but for the first time in my life, I didn’t have that familiar feeling when I reached the waters. Others were most fascinated with Petra, Wadi Rum, or Amman but the Dead Sea held the greatest allure for me.