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No where to go but up

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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  1. John says:

    I’m actually sorry to hear you both had bad experiences at the Dead Sea (didnt meet expectations). True you can’t “swim” in the normal sense of the word.. but I was there about 6 months ago and loved it. I think you have to enjoy where you are, what you are doing and who you are with. Glide across the surface of the water, enjoy the mountains all around you, take it exactly where you are. As you can tell I had a great time.

    I am curious as to how the nearby kibutz grows veggies. If you find out please tell us in the blog!!

    Thanks for all your posts!
    john

  2. jen laceda says:

    I actually stuck my tongue out to taste the salt on the rocks! Yup, it’s there!

  3. jen laceda says:

    Masada is just plain awesome, but the Dead Sea (which is actually a lake) is a bit of a letdown for me. 20 minutes in the water and the novelty has worn off, along with the colours of my swimsuit. Boy, is it salty ! However, my jeep safari through the nearby Judean desert is a fine experience. I would have loved to stay overnight to camp, but maybe next time. Hopefully, you can do the camping, and I can read all about it here…

    • Gary says:

      I just got back from swimming (aka floating) in the Dead Sea. You are right. It is sort of a let down. There isn’t much you can really do other than float on your back. You can’t swim in any normal sense of the word. You can’t splash, lest someone get water in their eye. If you have any sort of sore, cut, abrasion or wound on your body it is going to burn like hell. Swimming there is more interesting in theory than in practice. I’m going to go there tomorrow morning I think to take photos of some of the halite (salt) crystals on the rocks. I don’t plan on going in the water again.

  4. I visited Masada and the Dead Sea when I was in the US Navy…standing up on that mountain was an amazing experience. We had a Rabbi with us ( a Chaplain) and he recited the speech that was recorded beseeching the citizens to take their own lives rather than become Roman slaves…

    It’s beautiful in a wild way…

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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