Wednesday, October 3, 2007

TT #33 - The Dead Sea

Thank you to Cindi from Whisperings From The Wings for making me this adorable header.

We just got back from a great day down at the Dead Sea, so what better to choose for this week's TT:

1. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth at minus 416 meters (1,364 feet) below sea level.


2. To put this in perspective for my son, I explained that it is the equivalent of about five soccer fields (lengthwise) below our home, which is a few miles in from the coast and so slightly elevated.

3. It was about 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees fahrenheit) at the Dead Sea today. In comparison, the high in Tel Aviv today was a balmy 28 C (82 F).
4. The region gets an average 330 days of sun each year, and because it's at such a low elevation the sunlight is filtered and there's much less danger of sunburn.

5. You cannot drown in the Dead Sea. The salt content is so high (10 times that of the world's oceans and twice that of the Great Salt Lake in Utah) that you literally cannot drown. People actually read newspapers while floating in the water, just as if they were sitting in a chair at home. It's a completely bizarre sensation. Sorry, I would have had photos of this but I forgot my camera in the car and it was a ridiculously long hike back uphill to get it so you're out of luck. You'll find plenty if you go0gle it though.

6. The very high salt and mineral content also makes the water feel very oily, and you need to be very careful not to get any in your eyes, mouth, etc.

7. You'd best not shave a day or so before swimming in the Dead Sea, because the water will make any cuts you have on your body sting!

8. Some people cover themselves in Dead Sea mud, believing it is good for their skin. (It may be, but I think they just like to play in the mud.)

9. The Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, are right along the shore of the Dead Sea, hence the name "The Dead Sea Scrolls". Clever, isn't it?

10. Just across the road from the Dead Sea is the Ein Gedi Nature Preserve. This oasis of green with its flowing waterfalls stands in stark contrast to the surrounding desert. It offers both easy family-friendly hiking and more challenging routes.

(Maya was a wee bit off the path for this one)

11. Ein Gedi's waterfalls are a great place to cool off from the desert heat.


12. Ein Gedi has a herd of ibex who roam the park. They're used to humans, so you're able to observe them fairly closely without scaring them.


13. The Dead Sea is also quite near the historic fortress of Masada, where after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD a group of Jewish zealots held out against a siege by the forces of the Roman Empire for three more years. When it became apparent that all hope of victory was lost, they elected to kill themselves rather than surrender and submit to slavery.





Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



53 comments:

Chelle Y. said...

I went to Israel on my Senior Trip, and one of my favorite places to see was the Dead Sea and Masada! I especially loved the Dead Sea because I cannot swim. So to actually, "not drown" and go pretty far into it was a highlight for me!

Thanks for sharing. I am going to go back and read the history of Masada, because I cannot remember it right now, except for "Masada shall never fall again!"

Tink said...

I'd love to visit the Dead Sea. You make it sound even more tempting!
Thanks for visiting my Tolkien TT!

SusieJ said...

I keep reading so many fascinating things about the Dead Sea. Now, it is so much more real. Thank you for this.

yh said...

How interesting! I'd love to go visit... especially the "no drowning" sea... since I'd probably drown in regular water.

Nap Warden said...

I have never been to Israel. I find the Dead Sea interesting, might have to make the trip. Great shots!

captain lifecruiser said...

I would stay for ever at #11 to cool off... and to play in the water... *giggles*

ellen b said...

Fascinating facts!

AF Wife said...

What a great outing! Thanks for sharing with us!

My T13 is up!

Nicholas said...

I'd heard about #5 but wasn't sure if it was apocryphal or not. For some reason I'm very glad it's true. I love the idea of people sitting up in the water reading newspapers.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Five football fields down, huh? That's pretty far down.

Sounds like a great day... wish I'd been there, of course.

Lori said...

Great info and pics!! Thanks for sharing. Happy TT.

Lazy Daisy said...

Wow, what great pictures and very interesting facts. Thanks for sharing.

Janet said...

The way you described it in #5 totally made me want to go there!

Janice said...

You described it so well, Robin. I knew some of those things, but not everything you said about it. I'd love to visit there someday. Loved the pics. of the kids (what a gorgeous place!)

Nancy said...

I'd love to be there, in 95 degree weather. The pics are great, thanks for posting them. So interesting, the Dead Sea stories.

Yen said...

Beautiful shots and what a great idea for TT! I'd love to go there too,someday!

Happy TT!

Summer said...

Wow, those are such neat facts.
I also wanted to ask you a question. We live in Maryland in a mostly orthodox Jewish neighborhood. Most of the families have these blueish sort of tents set up in their yards right now with branches over the open tops. I was wondering what the meaning of this was. We see it every year at this time.

phyllis said...

love this post. the dead sea is so great... makes me miss israel!

Journeywoman said...

I love the story of Masada. There is a great movie about it.

Happy TT.

tanabata said...

How fascinating! My husband had a chance to visit the Dead Sea when he was on a business trip in the region but I've never been. Thanks for sharing.

Denise Patrick said...

I've read about the Dead Sea and your post has piqued my interest again. The story of Masada has always interested me, too.

Happy TT!

Amy said...

I think I told you I would love to go back. The dead sea was fabulous. =)

Lara Angelina said...

This was fascinating -- I love all the things I learn every Thursday! It seems like a gret place filled with history and great beauty. Thanks for sharing!

AreWeThereYetMom said...

Those are some fascinating facts. Isreal is on my places to visit.
Thanks for sharing these lovely photos. The ones with the waterfall are my favorite. Gives the 'Dead Sea' a feeling of being an oasis. :)

Happy TT, Robin!

Xakara said...

The Dead Sea is on my list of places to see and you make is sound worth the trip. :)

~X

Mom not Mum said...

Great facts. Someday I just might make it over there.

Darla said...

Oh, this is fascinating! Thanks for the virtual trip!

Head Gaggler said...

What a great informative list. Love the pics too. I would really like to visit Israel someday.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I love your travel info! Sounds so neat--do you think my kids would let me read a newspaper in peace if I were floating in the middle of the sea?

Gattina said...

Very interesting ! I only know the Red Sea, but it sounds very much alike especially the salt content, I always floated on the surface, lol !

Sparky Duck said...

The Dead Sea area amazingly looks like Arizona

Ann Aguirre said...

That sounds like a great trip. But I'm not so sure about the swimming...

Lesley said...

Well that sounds like a neat trip! The dead sea has always been so interesting to me! The floating thing is just so strange!

Joyismygoal said...

Love the pics and i would play in the mud for my skin too:)

erin said...

Wow, I'm so jealous you got to swim in the Dead Sea! I think that would be really neat. I loved the pictures, too! My TT is things I'd rather do instead of grade papers.

Vixen said...

What a fascinating TT. Thank you so much for sharing. I used to live near the Great Salt Lake and the smell could be horrendous...does that happen at the The Dead Sea?

Thorne said...

I'd love to be there...

Pieces of Me said...

I don't know if I would go back to the Dead Sea and read a newspaper , but I certainly loved the mud baths. It is especially rejuvenating! Could you send me a few baths salts and mud on your way back? :) I miss those heavenly baths!

J. Lynne said...

I love reading your posts about where you live. So much history.

Happy TT!

Kendra said...

how interesting! happy TT! i've always wanted to visit the dead sea and now i want to visit even more!

Celticangel said...

Yay for the informational list! I hope that you had a nice trip.

Happy Tt!

Kim said...

I pretty much grew up in the ocean, and I cant even begin to thing of saltier water! The first swam in a fresh water pool I sunk!
Thanks for sharing such interesting facts. I im adding another place to my "I want to visit someday"list!

Buck Naked Politics said...

What an incredible trip! I had no idea about one's not being able to drown in the Dead Sea.

kimberley-s@wildmail.com said...

Looks like a marvelous time. I can't imagine how wonderful it is to live where you do with all the rich history and tradition.

Recently we attended the Natural History Museum in San Diego, Ca. where we saw the exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls themselves, their history were fascinating. And what those scrolls went through when they were first discovered - its a true miracle they have survived as well as they have.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Jenny said...

That looks like so much fun!

Robin said...

Hi everyone. Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you've enjoyed this week's TT. I'm just checking in for a minute because I'm shattered. I was out with the kids getting their portraits taken half the day (photographer friend did it for free, so I couldn't complain about how long it was taking), then I had to come home and set up for a party we had tonight. The last guests didn't leave until after 1am and it was another hour before I finished clearing up. Music was great though. At one point we had 7 different guitars all playing together, and countless people singing along. It's nearly 2:30am now and I have to get to bed. I'll be back to answer your questions and make the rounds tomorrow.

*Rae* said...

Great list The Dead Sea sounds so beautiful you took some great pictures especially the waterfall. Reading this makes me want to know more about it Happy TT

Kim said...

Fascinating! I always learn such cool stuff from your blog Robin!

pussreboots said...

Beautiful photographs. Happy TT. I'm talking about books again.

grace said...

I love the idea of not drowning as I can't swim!!

Robin said...

Vixen - the areas where they are mining bromide and other minerals can stink, but the bathing beaches aren't usually too bad.

Dorit - if I'd have known you wanted some I'd have picked you up some and dropped them in the mail for you.

Summer - those booths are for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. I did a TT about it last week that will explain more:

http://aroundtheisland.blogspot.com/2007/09/tt32-sukkot.html

Vader's Mom said...

What a wonderful post. I learned a lot!!

Scribbit said...

Oh you've really got me jealous--my mom has swam in the great Salt Lake and said that it was an odd feeling so I can't imagine the Dead Sea. That waterfall looks so fun!