07 November 2009

Bobbing Along, Bobbing Along, on the Surface of the Extremely Briny Sea

(Obviously to the tune of this Bedknobs and Broomsticks song)

A trip to Israel or Jordan would not be complete for a tourist without a visit to the uniquely salty Dead Sea. People may or may not be aware of how much easier it is to float in the ocean, a gulf, or some other body of salt water. However, the experience of swimming or floating in the Dead Sea, besides leaving you with a slightly less than pleasant film of minerals coating your entire body, greatly magnifies the effect of salt water on an object's buoyancy. Oh, and it'll quickly remind you how much salt burns if you have any scratches or cuts, or if you get it in your eyes. The most impressive part, when you stop to think of it, is that almost your whole body is on top of the water. You could be in water two meters deep, lie on your side, and it would look like you're practically lying on sand just a few inches below the surface.

On the same day as our visit to the Dead Sea, we spent a few hours in Ein Gedi at Wadi David, or David's Valley, where there are a few waterfalls, some cool freshwater pools beneath them, and pretty trails of varying degrees of difficulty on the mountain. Just be careful the Nubian Ibexes (or Ibices even) are not throwing rocks down on you from above. I hear they do that sometimes.

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