Living Water of Dead Sea
The sea was like an old overweight woman who sat down to bask in the glow of the setting sun, and grumbling at the sight of a stranger, but curiously looking at the newcomer. In December, as a rule, there are not a lot of tourists near the Dead Sea. Despite Jordan's warm climate, the evenings are really cool. In spite of it I undressed and went to the water. Walking was painful. My heels smashed pieces of petrified salt scattered all over chapped and dehydrated shore. Approaching the water, I gratefully stepped into marshy black muck storing sun heat and allowing my feet to plunge to the ankles. It was not an easy trip to the legendary sea, to the unique water reservoir, to the healing moisture, which long ago was dubbed a dead water.
Every day the Jordan River and several small tributaries carry millions of tons of water to the Dead Sea, the sea does not have any outflows. Strong heat of the valley causes evaporation, thus leaving only the mineral substances and of course salt. The latter makes the water oily and thick. Such water composition makes swimming in the Dead Sea almost impossible. Here it is better to float effortlessly on your back outstretching arms and legs. It is almost impossible to go under the water. At least, at my questions about the drowned, local people raised their eyebrows in surprise and frantically waved their arms saying that in the Dead Sea - the dead is only the sea itself. The body of any weight is expelled to the surface at a speed of cork blowing from the bottle.
Here one should protect eyes. The slightest contact with salty liquid causes severe pain and burning, and tongue touched the water gets numb. However, dead water has an invaluable impact for body. The skin after bathing in this water becomes velvety, and sores on body are getting healed right in front of your eyes. After my swim in this magical pond in the morning my bruise earned the day before at the airport disappeared, scratches on my legs and arms were healed. And for greater therapeutic effect they recommend the use of mud richly deposited on the banks. Vacationers cover themselves with it leaving intact only their hair and eyes and then sit in this ridiculous look near water for long hours, breathing in its healing power.
The Dead Sea is located 400 meters below sea level and is rather a lake, consisting of two basins, with up to about 72 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide. Neither fish nor animals have settled in these places. The only ones who took a fancy of such a salnitary environment are bacteria, microbes, fungi. Such a unique body of water belongs to Israel and Jordan.
An amazing place is not so far from Kiev, it is only a few hours away. Several airlines fly from the capital of Ukraine to Jordan. Flight lasts for about 4 hours. Further, at the airport you can take a taxi and in a short time come on the shores of the hypersaline lake. Many of the residents of the Arab country are quite fluent in English, so is not difficult to talk to them. A way from Kiev to recreational destination and back costs about USD500-700.
The shore of the Dead Sea have anchored hotels, so you need to be ready not for evening promenades through the city, as it does not exist there, but for blissful breathing of wholesome air and bathing in the healing waters. Of course, in order to dispel the boredom, if any, you can visit place where Jesus was baptized; take a ride in the desert of Wadi Rum; stand under hot waterfalls; look at the masters of mosaics in Madaba; or have dinner in the Jordanian capital of Amman. That is not far from the beach. Of course, you can fly on holiday through Israel. and enjoy salty waters from another side.
Unique combination of climatic conditions, air, water and mud offers tremendous relief to arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even eyesight disorders. The air around the Dead Sea is free from allergens, so staying close this unique reservoir is good for everyone. Local air is saturated with salts that fill the atmosphere with negative ions which are extremely useful for treatment of lung diseases. Cold, flu and sore throat disappear without trace after a few days stay at the Dead Sea. The local air also helps ailing visitors suffering nervous system disorders.
The local climate is so highly valued by Europeans that many insurance companies in Europe even include staying on the coast of the Dead Sea in their medical programs.
However, the place where body gains youth and mind with soul come to life, soon may disappear from the map and turn into a memory, as it happened to the Aral Sea. Each year the water level in the Dead Sea falls from 30 to 100 centimetres as reported by experts.
Not only the sea but also the soil around it loses moisture. Over the past 15 years, around the lake there appeared more than 1 000 cracks that swallowed up water together with trees, roads and houses. Some experts warn that hotels built near the water one day may fall due to drought. Geographers, anthropologists, chemists and physicists have recently joined forces in the fight against the upcoming disaster. Research institutes in Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, Amman, for several decades have been struggling over preservation of the Dead Sea. They formed a group called Friends of the Earth, were joined by activists who are trying in every way to draw attention to the issue. Their main goal is to obtain World Heritage status for the Dead Sea. Then the United Nations will be able to allocate money for further scientific work related to the rescue of a unique water basin. According to the experts, the main causes of the Dead Sea shrinkage are associate with human activities.
Until the middle of the latest century, the rate of admission of fresh water to the sea was equal to its rate of evaporation, but in the 60’s on the coast of the Sea of Galilee, they built a pump and took to the pipes water from the Jordan River. Since then the Dead Sea started shrinking. Now it needs additional 160 billion gallons of water a year in order not to vanish, but receives only about one percent of that. Among the projects aimed at saving the pond that caused the most heated discussion, is the channel between the Dead and the Red Seas. The costs of such an ambitious project is about USD 10 billion. However, this idea rises a dispute among scientists. While some consider it to be almost the only chance to save the unique body of water, others warn that salt, gaining access to the waters of the Red Sea, can wither its shores.
So the experts' forecasts are not encouraging, if not direct all the forces to rescue the unique water reservoir, in the year of 2050 the Jordan Valley will be deprived of this nature miracle.