Travel Israel: Tales from the Dead Sea

Marcello Arrambide visits the Dead Sea to witness the magnificent views from Masada fortress.

Masada Fortress Photo © iStock/vvvita

Witnessing the Dead Sea for the first time was very surreal. I kept hearing whispers of how you were able to float in one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, and that is it actually evaporating. The shores of the Dead Sea lay claim to the lowest elevation on earth and I was not only able to float in the water, but also see its magnificent views from the Masada fortress that oversees it.  

One of the first things that grabbed my attention was the changing terrain in Israel. We left the lush green mountains of a local Kibbutz and we headed to the dry arid terrain of the Dead Sea. We drove past the Dead Sea to reach the Masada fortress and the only thing I could ponder was the vast difference in landscape, in a short drive of four to five hours the scenery was completely different.

All signs in Israel are in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Photo credit: Marcello Arrambide

We were lucky to have visited Israel during the dry season when we could still access the Dead Sea. The road that we talk to see both the Masada fortress and the Dead Sea often finds itself underwater with cars floating off the road. There were many jokes along the way, especially ones that involved not releasing gases from places that the sun doesn't shine! Due to the saltiness of the Dead Sea, which is roughly 8 to 9 times that of the ocean, it could be terribly painful for someone to get the water in places it shouldn't go!

It was very unique to be able to see the Dead Sea and the border of Israel from the Masada Fortress high above the water.  It was a clear day and being able to see the sheer size of the body of water is truly impressive.  

Like a Resort Pool...

At first glance the Dead Sea looks completely baron and devoid of life, but once you approach the dedicated areas where people swim it reminds you of the 5 start resorts that line the beaches of the most exclusive places around the world.  I was lucky enough to be invited to Israel by the tourist board of the country and they made sure we had an exceptional experience.

Entering the Dead Sea. Photo credit: Marcello Arrambide

Once you arrive you see the dedicated swimming areas you have to walk what seems a lifetime to get the actual water.  It is cliff after cliff that you have to get down unless you go down the regular path, that is no fun.

Getting into the Dead Sea was a challenge itself, the high salt content has created salt crystals on the edge of the water that tackle every portion of your feet. One must walk slowly to ensure that you don't trip and fall, what I can compare it to is when you are walking into a very rocky beach.

Once your legs start feeling the water there isn't a different sensation of walking into a normal beach.  It actually hits you when you delve into the water and you actually begin to float.  After you taste the water you realize you're not in Kansas anymore!  Being able to actually float in the water is so different than what you are used to.

View from Masada Fortress. Photo credit: Marcello Arrambide

You don't have to try or even move around, everyone is able to sit and enjoy the experience.  The water is so calm that you could easily swim to Jordan, slowly and cautiously of course.  It was a bit awkward when I had the sudden urge to use the bathroom but I didn't want to experience the devil's rath.  I held it until we arrived in Jerusalem, only a few hours, no biggie.

Healing Mud Piles

One of the things I was extremely interested in was finding the mud that so many claimed has magic properties.  Much like the mud found in Iceland, the unique combination that creates the body of water has many healing properties. 

It wasn't easy and as everyone was preparing to go I immediately set out on my path to find the mud, I wanted to be covered in it.  I asked everyone where it could be found and I was able to locate it after a 10 minute walk, through the rocky salt crystal terrain none the less.  

My first experience in the mud. Photo credit: Marcello Arrambide

It was found in a hole not far away from where everyone was swimming. I did have a partner in crime that was just finishing up his mud bath and I immediately started to cover myself in mud, sadly no one would get my back.  I didn't bring a swimsuit to Israel since I left all my belongings in Kenya and I had to do what every other person would do, go in there Speedos.  Do not be alarmed, I have found what are called Zungas here in Brazil and pan on wearing those from now on.  A Zunga is a boxer brief that is a bathing suit rather than underwear.

It was a fantastic experience, considering that the Dead Sea is dying with water levels lowering at an alarming rate, it is very special to visit one of Jordan's and Israel's most visited tourist attractions. It was very surprising to see hotels that were build on the water years so stand so far away from the water. Many times people have to cross cliffs in order to get what was gorgeous beaches that lined their shores. When I return to Israel, I definitely plan on visiting the Dead Sea in order to compare and contrast the changes.  

Doing my signature pose with the mud mask. Photo credit: Marcello Arrambide

About the Author

Marcello Arrambide is a professional day trader that travels around the world and shares his stories via his WanderingTrader travel blog, you can also find Marcello teaching other day traders how to make money in the stock market and achieve their own freedom via The Day Trading Academy.  Don't forget to send him a shout out on Facebook & Twitter!

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