The Dead Sea


[Yara, Swirly & Renee, waiting for our mud to dry before getting back into the Dead Sea for another float. Photo taken by Tara Bradford.]

I just posted some more photos from my recent trip to Jordan.  They are all right here, and recent uploads have images from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea and Aqaba.  I have stories to share from each of these places, and I'll start here with the Dead Sea, an experience that took me by surprise in terms of how much crazy fun it was.  All I knew about the Dead Sea before going was that it is the lowest point on earth, its high salt content meant that nothing lived in its waters, and I would float.  I knew it was going to be a unique experience, but I had no idea it would be so much fun.

I will never forget wading into the water with my fellow travelers, and the water was just chilly enough to make us all a tiny bit hesitant.  Renee was the first to let herself fall back into the water, and as soon as she began floating it was "OHMYGOSH, this is so trippy!!", and her excitement inspired me to follow her lead immediately, which led to my own version of "OHMYGOSH, this is wild!!" and one by one, we each did our own little freak out.

It is hard to explain the feeling of floating in the water.  We could float in a sort of v-shape (butts down, arms on top of the water, feet pointed up), could turn over onto our stomachs and pretend we were Superman, or we could make our bodies flat like a board with our arms folded behind our heads as if we were lying on the grass watching the clouds go by.  And we could not stop laughing, could not prevent ourselves from expressing how amazed and excited we were to be floating.

We also had fun slathering the warm mud from the Dead Sea all over ourselves, and after twenty minutes or so when we rinsed it all off, our skin was glowing and smooth.  We then enjoyed some more time pretending we were lily pads - floating still on top of the water - and reluctantly headed back inside to change when it was time to go.

When I lived in Santa Barbara, I used to surf regularly.  I still can't believe I did this, but I was serious enough that during the high surf season, which was winter, I would get up and be in the water by 6:00 or 6:30am, braving the icy cold water so I could get sloshed around as if I were in a giant washing machine for a couple of hours.  Dragging myself out of bed and facing that first feeling of bracing cold ocean water pouring into every crevice of my wetsuit was always worth it though, because letting the ocean toss me around for a while always gave me the most tremendous energy.  I literally felt like I was tingling and glowing inside after surfing.  I felt the same way this past summer in Hawaii - when I spent as much time in the water as possible - and I felt that way after floating in the Dead Sea.  Every cell in my body is happy when I spend time in the ocean, and that is one of the reasons I said good-bye to the Dead Sea feeling ever so slightly buzzed - grateful for every moment with the salt, the sun, the mud and the laughter.

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."  ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta