Floating in the Dead Sea was on my bucket list. Now I’ve ticked it off the list. Was I ecstatic about the experience? Hardly.
I know I could be too critical at times. There’s also a saying: the more you expect, the more disappointed you’ll get. Probably both true.
The Dead Sea looked deadly gorgeous high above from Masada fortress. It looked wonderful when we drove around it many times too. But the Dead Sea beach we went? Didn’t look inviting at all – sorry for not saying something more positive. I’m not sure if you could go floating anywhere in Dead Sea on your own. Somewhere less touristy, less crowded would definitely make the trip more pleasant.
In any case, this is just the account of my experience going with a tour company. The beach was obviously a destination that all tour buses would go to. It has a large souvenir shop that sells Dead Sea skin products as well as hats, tea towers, pouches etc with “Dead Sea” written all over them. There are a couple of bars on upper level and a changing place with bathrooms, shower rooms and a locker room. It costs 15 shekels to hire a locker. Everywhere was packed with people. People from all over the world.
It was around 42 Celsius degrees when we went to the beach. Normally in a hot day like that, I’d be dying to go to cool water. I didn’t have much desire to go down all the way to the beach that day. Instead, I felt hot and bothered. But hey, who couldn’t miss this maybe once in a life time opportunity to go floating in the Dead Sea! I travelled all the way from Australia to do this. “Don’t be discouraged so easily Yvonne!” telling myself off, I slowly worked out how to utilise the free time we were given.
Taking everything with me, I went around and down to the beach to explore the whole area before going into the water. Someone yelled out: “Hey, where are you coming from?” Hmmm. I squeezed a very weak smile and walked faster, not in the mood to be friendly just with anyone.
After a quick orientation, I went up again, changed to swimming suits and hired a locker to put everything in it including my camera and phone. Feeling much lighter with only a towel and a bottle of water in my hand, I headed to the beach, this time, for a real dip and float.
The beach was burning hot – you could grill your feet without wearing shoes. A fellow tourist kindly made room for me under an beach umbrella. I put my towel down on a chair, sat down and gazed at the water a little bit more. A couple of women fell on the way back to the beach. It must be very slippery.
I walked towards the water sweating from the heat, took my shoes off right before the edge and went into the Dead Sea slowly. People have warned me to be careful not to get the Dead Sea salty water in my eyes. But sweat streamed down heavily on my face and flew into my eyes. I wasn’t sure which one is saltier, my sweat or the Dead Sea Water. It felt good to cool down in the water finally. Soon my exposed skin was burning like crazy because I didn’t put sunscreen on properly. I grabbed the slippery mud and put it all over my body. The best sun blocker ever! I lied on my back for a little float. It was super easy. You could totally relax on your back, stretch/twist your arms and legs without sinking.
After a while, I walked back to the shore, put more mud on my body and slowly made my way back. There were cold shower facilities along the way back up. I queued a little to have a quick one. The water was much cooler than the Dead Sea water. How refreshing was the cold shower! And my skin, how smooth it was after the mud! Back to the locker and bathroom on top. After a quick shower and changing to my normal clothes, I walked back into the heat. It didn’t feel that hot any more. The bar next to the tourist centre looked my inviting now. So I went in and chilled a little more before it was time to catch the tour bus back. My mood improved dramatically.
Looking back at the trip of floating in the Dead Sea, it was still worthwhile though not overwhelmingly enjoyable. But I did what I’ve always wanted to do and understand the beach was packed because floating in the Dead Sea is OBVIOUSLY on so many people’s bucket list. We’ve got to share the pleasure! 🙂
Israel the country as a whole is beyond amazing. Israeli people are so creative and artistic! Look at those abandoned workers’ houses near the Dead Sea Beach. Aren’t they adorable?