Saturday, December 22, 2018

A Kayak Tour of the Dead Sea - an extraordinary attraction

A kayak tour of the Dead Sea is a wonderful way to explore the Dead Sea from an unusual point of view. It is one of the newest and most exciting attractions in the Dead Sea. It is a window to glimpse unique natural phenomena, including walls of white mineral deposits, sinkholes, springs, mud and salt crystals. The tour includes explanations about the natural phenomena and ecology, recent trends and a discussion of the ideas for rehabilitating the Dead Sea. This is a tourist attraction but also a study journey that comes with knowledge and experiences. And it's also fun - rowing a kayak, bathing and floating in the Dead Sea, and rolling in the mud.
A Kayak Tour of the Dead Sea

Kayaking at the Dead Sea sounds like an oxymoron, but when you think about it, open sea kayaking is in salty water, so why not row in the mineral water?  The advantage of a kayak or boat trip is that it reaches places that are not usually accessible from land.

Ofer Shmuelfeld took us on this interesting journey while explaining about the history, geography and ecology of this area. Our first stop was near a mineral wall. The Dead Sea is comprised of a saturated solution of many minerals and it deposits a layer of solid minerals on the bottom. Over the years, it formed a thick layer of minerals and mud. When the water level dropped the walls were exposed. And they are beautiful! White and grey lines and shapes!

Another interesting phenomenon caused by the water – level drop is the sinkholes. When the water level drops, fresh water penetrates the soil, melts the minerals and sweeps away the mud. This results in a collapse of the soil and creates a small crater that is often filled with water – a Sinkhole. This was our next stop; we peddled above an underwater sinkhole and stopped near a sinkhole full of mud for a swim and to roll in the mud.

The last stop was to see a spring (fresh water, lots of mud) and dig ‘diamonds’. Not real diamonds, that is, they are cooking salt (sodium chloride) crystals and they are beautiful. 

On the way, we observed additional natural phenomena and heard more about the water level drop (1.5m/year!) and paddled back to the starting point – I only then realized how far we peddled. It’s not a big effort, but for those who won’t peddle, there are also ‘regular’ boat tours available. 

Here's a short video that shows the trip:

If you are interested in the Dead Sea area, here are some things to do and places to stay:
Isrotel Dead Sea – a 5 stars hotel in Ein Bokek, where you can find also a steakhouse - Ranch House
Herods Hotel Dead Sea – a 5 stars hotel situated in the southern area of Ein Bokek
Masada – the must-see attraction, it is recommended to climb there via the Snake track to see the sunrise
Masada Sound and Light show – I heard it changed recently and I will be updating this, but meanwhile, this gives some idea about it.
Prices for small groups (up to 10 people) starting at NIS 195 per person.
Kayak Tours, Ofer Shmuelfeld, Phone: +972 50 8650705


The author was a guest of the Kayaks tour.

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