A sleepless night at the dead sea …

With its 8,848 meters above sea level, the Mount Everest is seen as the highest point on earth. Its counterpart is the Dead Sea, which is the lowest attainable place on earth, being 428 meters under sea level. It is situated in the borders between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Dead Sea - Metsoke Dragot area

Desert area at the Dead Sea

The lake itself consists of around 33% salt. This causes the lake’s water to have a high density – the reason why it is impossible to drown and therefore also to swim. One drifts on it like a float.

The salty water can also become dangerous as the mineral is making the ground very slippery and drinking even just a few swallows will lead to dead. The sea itself contains life which can be found in micro organisms. That is possibly where it got its name from as it is proved to have been already called ‘Dead Sea’ in ancient times.

On my first trip there I have been pretty much excited. Never before I had been in the desert and experienced a deep water source I don’t have to swim in. Unfortunately I have been travelling with a tourist group. That’s why my first time was quick, planned and less enjoyable.

However, this visit made me even more curious. I learned from my mistake and went again privately several times.

I think it is amazing to see how the landscape is changing while slowly driving in the dead sea area. It almost seems as if the shift is done secretly when hilly areas with tall green trees and grey stones dissolve into brownish, orange mountains, covered with sand, stones and a few flat plants. From time to time plantations with palm trees, other agriculture, Bedouin cams, small villages and factories appear while driving on the road. One can see signs for rivers where obviously no water is running. Except of some days in winter, when the dusty riverbed breathes the new life which comes out of the mountains.

Dead Sea - Sunrise above Jordan

Sunrise above Jordan

The whole scenery opens its calm atmosphere finally, when one sees the Dead Sea itself. While driving on the road which is built next to the sea, the warm colours of the mountains start to hug the sea which is coloured in deep blue. It seems like the air reflects all of these shades like a mirror – the result of the river’s vaporized salt.

This time I came in the afternoon and planned to stay over night. I never assumed that many people would like to camp on a place where there is only salty water and no shower – but I learned I was wrong. We went to a part of the beach close to Metsoke Dragot.

The sunset was amazing but rather short than intensive because the sun sets behind the huge mountains that are surrounding the dead sea in the west. I went to sleep. Hours later I finally gave up my intensive fight with all of the mosquitoes which were regaled sucking my blood. As it was already morning I decided to go for a walk.

I took my camera and went to the waterfront. I looked at Jordan’s mountains. The sun was still hiding behind the huge waves, formed out of stone while at the same time it was illuminating them in warm orange light. I was alone and there was no noise except the sounds of the few waves which made their way to the shore. It was more than beautiful and the silent atmosphere made this experience appear longer than it was.

The sun moved on and slowly the orange, red and purple coloured lights became lighter. While being deeply impressed by these beautiful landscape and colour sets, I realized that the sea was wilder than I remembered it from the evening before. I really enjoyed every moment the colours went more up. The moment the sun arose above the mountains changed the whole atmosphere. It was bright and even though its warm shades were hugging one they welcomed the next long and hot day.

Left overs

Left overs

I continued walking around. This area has several sweet water sources which are being used to remove the salty, slippery layer one gets after bathing in the Dead Sea or to remove the mud which many people cover their whole body with for some time. They look like very tiny oases and were surrounded by reeds.

For a second one could believe to be at a different place.

While walking around I again and again meet the left overs of the human species. Plastic bottles, broken camping items, newspapers and rusty metal waste which seemed to have served until many years ago to enter the sea. Seeing the sun in the backdrop of these remains of selfishness completely change the place.

The silent atmosphere is getting even more silent. Like a still life of humanity at a place which is making life very unappealing. I have always been fascinated by the fact that humans are living in this hostile area for thousands of years already. An area with mountains, almost no sweet water, heat and dry soil. Still, somehow they made it … until today.

On my way back I found interest in the stones which were laying around in layers. They formed small hills. One could see that they had a long journey, meeting many natural elements and reactions. Some were covered by a salt crust. They had freaky forms and spikes, breaking the light and the colour of the stones they were on. They looked like little monsters which warn the visitors to be careful, in case they attract their interests.

The morning went on. More and more people got up to enjoy their stay. The sun transformed into a burning yellow ball. The wonderful silence, which the hungry mosquitoes had forced me to experience, lasted one hour.


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  1. Pingback: A still life in Ein Gedi | pietschy

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