I don’t think you will find anything more unique, unusual and extreme as diving in the Dead Sea. Sure, you can dive under ice – pretty extreme and very beautiful… but oh so cold. Whereas diving in the Dead Sea… well, read on.
For starters, the Dead Sea is 420m below sea level. This is the lowest point on the face of the earth. This vast stretch of water receives a number of inflowing rivers, amongst them the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.
This land-locked sea is 80 kilometres (50 miles) long, approximately 14 kilometres (9 miles) wide. The northern and larger part is very deep, reaching at one point a depth of 430m (1320 feet). The southern bay is, on the contrary, very shallow, hardly averaging a depth of 4m (13 feet).
The water is warm and soothing and ten times saltier than a normal sea. It is rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several others. It is also unusually buoyant. Because of the extremely high salt content it is devoid of all plant and animal life, or almost: they now know for a fact that Halophilic bacterium and algae lives in this tough environment
However, it’s the glitteringly beautiful salt consolidation that makes diving here such an extreme experience.
Water temperatures vary between 18° C in January to 28°-35° C in August. Visibility ranges from 1 up to 20 meters. The Diving season is all year around.
It’s a challenge though. With that sort of buoyancy you need to take on a lot of lead to go down. With a salt concentration of 32%, it is so saline that it practically precludes swimming. You can dive in, though hermetically-sealed goggles are highly adviseable, but the density of the water will pop you back to the surface like a cork. Remaining underwater for any period of time requires a Herculean effort – hence the need for a lot of lead.
I’m sorry I can’t bring you a video where the sun is shining as they say the sea glitters with millions of diamonds, but thanks anyway to Deadseadivers for this video.
If you are thinking of going diving in the Dead Sea, we suggest you get hold of the professionals out there, dive with them, and do what they say. The environment is incredibly challenging, not to say dangerous and each diver must prepare himself very carefully in advance. www.deadseadivers.com use full face mask and plenty of weights as part of their specially maintained equipment.
If you’re a real adrenaline junkie there are several more things you can do besides scuba diving in the Dead Sea. You can hike out of the area trekking up the Wadi Mujib, up the narrow, 50 metre high, walls of the Wadi. Your guide will take you through a series of cascading waterfalls, each more challenging than the one before.
And then of course, if you go out there in April, you can always take part in the Dead Sea Marathon – 42 kms starting in Amman and going down to the Dead Sea – note the ‘down’… fortunately it is downhill almost all the way! This is an international ‘fun run’ that takes place every April and raises money for The Society for the Care of Neurological Patients.
The DSUM has become increasingly more popular ever since its conception in 1986. Several world record runners and champions have participated and the 2009 run broke all records with more than 4100 runners representing 48 nationalities. It marked a turning point in the future of the event as a national and international athletic, touristic and above all charitable event with the continuous support of Jordanian organizations.
The 17th Dead Sea Ultra Marathon will take place on April 9th 2010, more than 5000 participants are expected to participate.
And if afterwards you want to sit back and relax – well there’s nowhere more suitable than doing that in the healing waters of the Sea itself (JacobYosha):