Even if you’re not a beach person, there’s something about floating in the Dead Sea that is completely unforgettable.
It’s also certain to be unlike any swim you’ve ever experienced. At more than 430 metres below sea level, the Dead Sea – bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank – is the lowest point on Earth and contains about ten times the amount of salt than your typical ocean does.
People flock here for the health benefits of the high mineral content in the water, as well as the rich nutrients in the mud; some people believe the salt can help heal ailments such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and the mud can alleviate skin conditions. But health benefits aside, the experience itself is pretty incredible.
The high salt content means you become incredibly buoyant; floating here is nothing like floating in your typical swimming pool or ocean! You’ll find yourself more on top of the water than in it. It’s a strange feeling and one that might take a few minutes to get used to.
If you’re planning a visit, here’s how to prepare:
1. Do NOT shave anything at least 48 hours before you go
Men, this goes for you too. If you have razor burn or a shaving cut/nick of any type anywhere on your body, you’re in for a world of pain when the salt water touches your skin. No joke. Just deal with the 2 day stubble. Same goes for any cuts, scrapes or blisters you might have on your body. We watched someone put clear nailpolish over the blisters on her heels before hitting the water, and it seemed to do the trick.
2. Arrive dressed
Some areas along the beach have change rooms, however most are hard to come by and/or incredibly crowded. Finding lockers is much the same story. It’s best to arrive with your swimmers on already, so you can avoid the crowded change rooms altogether and spend more time floating your cares away.
3. Leave your jewellery and valuables at home
Any jewellery you wear that isn’t 24-carat gold will tarnish almost immediately. Best to leave your jewellery in a safe place, such as a hotel safe.
4. Keep your chin up
While you might be tempted to dunk your head underwater or splash about, don’t. Do not. Getting salt water into your eyes will sting, a lot. Touching your eyes with your salty hands makes it worse. Keep your chin up, relax and float.
5. Wear sunglasses into the water
Pretty much a precaution for everything above. Protecting your eyes from little splashes of water is worth it. Sure, your glasses will get a bit of crusty salt on them, but you can clean them off later. Your eyes will thank you!
6. Keep your GoPro wet
If you’re taking a waterproof camera or a GoPro into the water, make sure you submerge it into the water frequently to keep the lens wet. The high salt content means you’ll get a very cloudy film drying on your lens, which will result in blurry photos and videos.
7. Stay hydrated
It can get pretty hot on both the Jordan and Israel side of the sea, and the water’s high salt content can dehydrate you quickly. Bring a few bottles of water with you and stay hydrated.
8. Get muddy
It’s going to feel strange, a bit gloopy, and definitely messy, but coat yourself in the mud and let it dry in the sunshine (by the way, being so far below sea level means you won’t get a sunburn here). Once the mud dries, get back in and rinse it off; you’ll immediately notice how great your skin feels. Many of the beaches also sell containers of mud you can use on shore, which is often fragranced with crushed mint or herbs so it smells nicer too. The mud here is very dark and will certainly stain a light-coloured swimsuit, so wear an old or dark-coloured one that won’t show any dirty marks.
Interested in a float in the Dead Sea? Check out our range of small group adventures to the lowest point on earth now!
Feature image by Nathan Landers.