I have read and heard so much about the Dead Sea from Sunday school, but the truth is… I never really bothered to understand anything about it. Luckily, I had the opportunity to finally see it in real life during my family’s visit to Israel last summer. We drove from Jerusalem to Masada for a twenty-minute swim—or should I say float—in the Dead Sea. Here are ten things I learned about this natural wonder:
- It’s not a sea. It’s a lake. A salty lake.
- It’s bordered by Jordan and Israel; one can access it from either side.
- It’s the lowest point on earth.
- It’s ten times saltier than the ocean. This high salinity makes it impossible for fishes or plants to thrive in it.
- And that is why it’s called the Dead Sea. There’s zero life… and zero shark attacks.
- And that’s also why you will float! Even if you’re 9 months pregnant, even if you do not know how to swim, or if you have just finished devouring a scrumptious bowl of hummus, pita, and falafel balls. Buoyancy—that thing your high school science teacher talked about—is real.
- You should NEVER, ever, dip, dunk or submerge your face into the water.
- It’s bitter. Very bitter. Do not taste the water. It is horrible.
- The water is heavy and oily, but it made my skin feel really soft, smooth, and rejuvenated. It’s better than any spa I have been to!
- It’s not easy to forget.
The Dead Sea is a place of fun; I remember letting out a laugh the moment I started floating on my back, and when I saw my parents a.k.a “the oldies” flip about like a penguin. The entire experience is hard to describe. It’s weird, funny, unique, magical, surreal, you get what I mean. The buoyancy and high salinity of the water made me feel helpless; I couldn’t swim; I couldn’t dive; I couldn’t do anything but float. But this feeling of helplessness is the same reason that allowed me to let go of control, to admire what was before me, and to just live in the moment.