No where to go but up

Posted: April 3, 2009    Categories: Israel

I am writing this near the shore of the Dead Sea at the Ein Gedi resort. I’m not staying at the Ein Gedi resort, but the bus dropped me off at the wrong stop and I had to walk about 4k to get here only to find out that the Ein Gedi hostel is 2k further up the road from the Ein Gedi resort. They have open wifi here and a bar, so I’m having a diet coke and abusing their open wifi before I put my bag back on and hit the road.

I have found something as simple as swimming in the Dead Sea to be more difficult than it should be. Masada overlooks the Dead Sea, but is not a Dead Sea resort. There are some hotels south of Masada, but they start at $200/night. I don’t even know if my reservation at the hostel is confirmed for tonight. At this point it might be easier to do a day trip from Jordan than it would be to try and find a place while carrying all my stuff around.

Walking along the shore of the Dead Sea you can see how much the shoreline has retreated in the last few decades. The sea keeps getting smaller and smaller. I wonder if it will exist at all in 100 years. It will be the new place people come to set land speed records. The Dead Sea has been dying for thousands of years. It was doomed from the moment it filled up with water. The diversion of the Jordan river only quicken the process (and probably was a good thing as all that fresh water would be wasted if it is dumped into the brine of the Dead Sea). In theory, they could refill the Dead Sea by diverting ocean water, but that is only going to add salt and I don’t think it is a long term solution, but it could raise the water level for resorts for several decades.

I don’t know much about the ecology of the area, but I don’t get the impression there is much other than some extremophile bacteria which depend on the hyper-saline water. No fish, no plants, no animals depend on the sea for life. The kibbutz I stopped to rest at (which has wifi) has a bunch of vegetation. I’m really curious to know how they do it, considering the nearest source of water for them is 35% salt.

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