The Dead Sea completely exceeded all my expectations. I was convinced that it would be slightly more buoyant than other familiar ocean waters and this was by far not the case. This is one experience that cannot be matched anywhere in the world and is highly recommended.
The most shocking thing to me about the small sliver of the Red Sea which Jordan has claim is the proximity to it's 3 neighbors. A few kilometers down and across the bay, coastal towns in Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia are all clearly visible. It is amazing that this confluence of diverse countries actually exists. The snorkeling here in Aqaba is amazing and it was quite a surprise when I glided over an old tank submerged not far from shore.
You walk into the Dead Sea and you have these images emblazoned in your mind – you know, the ones of people reading newspapers while reclining in the waters. And you think, 'surely this can't be true as you wade in and it feels completely normal.
And then once you're deep enough, you lean backwards and float. And at some point the realization hits that you're not treading water and you aren't flapping arms or kicking legs to keep your head above water. It's more like you're sitting in an inner tube, hovering at the top of the water, but there's no floaties in sight.
It's just sea stretching before you. And it's surreal. Especially when you drop your legs down and you can't reach the bottom, but your whole upper torso is sticking out of the water! Kind of like a synchronized swimmer, but no kicking legs required.
It was amazing.
There were a few crisis moments – the kids of course didn't understand “high salt content” and crying ensued as the girls splashed the super saline water into their eyes by accident. Several trips to shore were made to rinse eyes with fresh water!