Swimming in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea sits in a valley that was formed by the movement of the Arabian tectonic plate. It is the lowest point on earth at around 1,370 feet below sea level. Because the sea has no outlet, evaporation leaves behind a salt concentration of 32% or around nine times that of the ocean. Almost nothing lives in it, although the minerals in the water reputedly have medicinal power. The salt concentration of the water increases its density to a point where swimmers do not sink. However, if you get the water in your eyes, you're in for some serious pain.
Because of decreasing rainfall and diversion of source water, the water level was slowly dropping and the lake we swam in could some day be just a dry lake bed. At the time we visited, consideration was being given to creating a canal to the Red Sea that would also provide hydroelectric power. But there were questions about whether the resulting changes to the quality of the water in the lake might defeat the purpose of attempting to save it.
Next: Day 6: Mount of Olives