Madaba, Jordan – The Dead Sea

Never, EVER did I think that swimming in the Dead Sea would burn my bum! Burn my eyes, yes!  Burn my bum, NO!!!!! Well, more specifically my anus!

Yup – so much so, and so painful it was – that I was heartbroken to think I would not be able to float and enjoy this “only here in the world can you experience this” experience!

But I’m getting ahead of myself, because this unexpected side effect almost ruined my experience of floating in this lake of 33.7% salinity!  I’m thinking that an “anus may burn” warning should be added to the Swimming At The Dead Sea Instruction sign!!IMG_5557IMG_3233

Michael and I arrived the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, and the first item on our itinerary was going for a float in this famous body of water!

One disturbing Dead Sea fact (not the one I found out personally!) told to us by our driver Walid is that the Dead Sea is being drained by the government for its minerals. I’m not sure if both Israel and Jordan are responsible for draining the Dead Sea to make money from it?  But, from what Walid told us, it seems that the Jordanian government is doing so.

There are signs posted along the walkway from our hotel to its Dead Sea beach indicating how much water has been lost (drained) since 2000.IMG_5495IMG_5496IMG_5497

View of our hotel from the beach:IMG_5515

Michael had already been to Jordan, and in the Dead Sea, so this was my first time stepping into the Dead Sea!fullsizeoutput_a8a6It was here during my first float…about 5 minutes in that my bum started to burn…and worsened quickly. I had to get out of the water and rinse at the showers.IMG_5593Once the pain subsided, I wondered if the mud everyone was slathering all over themselves would help sooth my burning orifice just like the soothing results of mud from the mud flats of the Northumberland Straight helped when slathered on a wasp sting?? (I didn’t think to connect that this Dead Sea mud was DEAD SEA mud and would be SALTY!) D’oh!

Dead Sea mud you ask?

Yes. Offered for free by the hotel at its beach!

The mud box mud is made every day by staff  – a mix of mud and soil at the beach.IMG_5558


IMG_5523IMG_5522IMG_5524The picture below shows you where the mud is in the water. People are getting mud there instead of the mud box available on the beach.IMG_5564The mud box on the beach is mixed with this soil from a small outcropping at the beach – you can see the layers of salt!IMG_5587IMG_5588You can see the small outcropping at the beach, behind the guy covering himself with mud!IMG_5518Covering yourself with this mud is part of the experience! Everyone does it!!! When I asked different tourists what the benefits were, most didn’t know and just did it anyway – others – the more seasoned Dead Sea tourists (Italians!) explained to be good for skin conditions like eczema.  So, hey, for sure this mud would help sooth my unexpected side effect?!! Wouldn’t it????  IMG_5500IMG_5501Tourists fill up water bottles of the mud to be able to keep some (buying this mud in stores is VERY EXPENSIVE!). Michael filled up a large water bottle of the mud to bring back to Halifax to share with family and friends! It took him almost 2 hours to do so!!  (Oh, how Michael wished for a wide mouthed mason jar!!)IMG_5499

Michael and I’s first slather in Dead Sea mud! ***Important fact – you have to let the mud dry before going in the water. I’m not sure why?  That was the talk at the mud box while everyone slathered it on!!  LOL!!!!

Dead Sea Mud

The mud dissolves as you float…and my theory of putting this mud on places that burn was a terrible idea!  The salt in the mud made it a gazillion times worse!  I didn’t last long in the water and was almost in tears as I rinsed off in the shower because my butt was burning so bad!

As the pain subsided, I took pictures of people enjoying the water.  You can’t swim – you float! People whose shoulders are showing – that look as if they are standing – are not – they are floating! You can’t sink!  It’s impossible! The water also feels oily.  It slips off your skin, slides around you with a feeling of density to it.

In none of these pictures (except the first one obviously) is anyone touching the bottom. It may look like people are standing on the bottom but they’re bobbing around, IMG_5513IMG_5502IMG_5592

That’s Michael – he is floating while standing straight up – not standing on anything!IMG_5520That’s Israel across the way!  Michael thinks one could swim across the Dead Sea to Israel!IMG_5514

The next morning Michael and I went back to the beach!  This time with a photo session in mind.  (My mind was also worried, wondering if I would be able to last in the water and float around for hours like everyone else does here!)

People being able to lay on their backs – completely buoyant – and read (everything from newspapers to Kindles!) is a popular photo taken here!

Unfortunately, AGAIN my bum burned and I was not able to last in the water, just long enough to take these pictures and was devastated.  🙁

There isn’t much more to do in the area – because being at the Dead Sea and floating in it is the experience.

So, Michael and I went to the adult only pool and hung out there for the day! I love my husband!!  <3

Our final morning, we again went to the Dead Sea! This was our last day here and wanted one more time in the salty water.

Plus, I was determined to try again!


We lathered up in the mud, remembering where not to put it! 😉

And went in for another float! Tourists help each other by taking pictures for each other of each other having this experience.  It was cool like that at the beach with a tourist willingness to help each other!


And for whatever reason – NOTHING on my body burned! I was able to float for over an hour in this crazy body of water – the only one like it in the entire world!!!!  I was SO HAPPY!!!

What I was able to notice now is that you can actually see the salt when you swim further out – where the water isn’t so murky from so much activity. It is difficult to explain…

I mentioned the water has a density to it – you could see the salt density – the water looked like clear syrup.  It felt like we were swimming in clear, oily syrup. Not a thick syrup, a thinner one.

Like oil!!  That’s it!  It looked like oil in water – but the oil wasn’t separated from the water – it was the water!!! As well, when you swooshed you hand quickly through the water – you saw white – the salt!  That was cool!

That over an hour time floating in the Dead Sea was one of my most memorable experiences yet!  There is nothing that compares to it! You cannot sink!

Now, what did all that mud do to our skin? It made it shinier, sparkle almost! Well, sorta not so obvious in this picture..but Michael and I see it! Especially our hands!  IMG_5594

This is a travel destination that is unlike any we have been to so far! Very unique in the world!

But know your bum might burn!  😉

S, 🙂

2 Comments Add yours

  1. mama says:

    So happy you were not in pain on your second attempt to enter the water and you both were able to experience the wonders of the Dead Sea. Your description of the water can only be experienced … to be bobbing along, or read as you float is hard to imagine. But you sure have the pictures as proof …great recap Stephanie! mama 😍

    1. Thanks mama!!! xoxo

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