Salt of the earth

I can still feel the tingling. I felt like a salt encrusted and baked potato after my soak in the Dead Sea and subsequent rub downs with mud and salt crystals – both by-products of this rapidly diminishing and intense blue coloured ‘pond’ shared between Jordan and Israel.

I would prefer you to see other tourists than myself who have reached the ‘mud stage!’

It’s not the only thing they share. Both have been diverting source water from the River Jordan’s flow – and increased the use of the lake’s water itself for commercial purposes.

One of many industrial units on the south bank

The surrounding area is rich in minerals as l can testify as we drove past the potash and magnesium industries on the southern shore.

The Dead Sea is three million years old but has shrunk by 30 per cent in recent years – that’s half a metre a year. Blame it on the above and evaporation.

At this rate, in one hundred years this shimmering body of water may well live up to its name and be no more. As it is the saline content is too high to support any form of permanent life other than us humans taking a dip.

The lake is part of the Great Rift Valley. It is the lowest spot on earth at 408 metres below sea level and more than 390 metres deep.

It is the second saltiest body of water on Earth – after Lake Aral in Djibouti – with a salt content of 31 per cent.

That’s why you can’t help but float though l needed help in standing up again. The legs just wouldn’t go down!

Ok. I am in there somewhere. Well disguised by mud.

We are staying at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar which offers access – via many marble stair cases and a red soil packed path – to a small beach complex where you can bathe and be covered with mud and then salt crystals in stages.

The way down to the Dead Sea

There’s a giant clock by the shore so you can time your stages. Too much of a Dead Sea soak can be harmful because of the salt content. Remember to thoroughly wash your bathers afterwards too.

After all of that it has been good to relax by one of the quieter of the hotel’s many pools. We will be there again tomorrow. A last relaxing day spent in Jordan before an early flight home on Saturday.