We saw very little of the Dead Sea. We drove by it and then some of us got up very early the next morning for a quick dip. It was an experience, though, that is very strange.
Some background, though. The Dead Sea is 1,300 feet below sea level and its shores are the lowest dry-land on earth. It's deepest spot is over 1,000 feet deep and its salt content is 10 times greater than the content of the ocean. Animals and plants cannot live in it and it is evaporating very quickly and has shrunk a great deal.
Water flows into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River, however it never leaves the Dead Sea - there is no exit. The minerals found in the Dead Sea are said to be great for your skin and there are spa's dedicated to using the minerals in their treatment.
As you can see, the Dead Sea is in the wilderness. There is nothing naturally growing around it. It is thought that it was not always like this, however and people smarter than I have placed Sodom & Gomorrah at the southern edge of the sea. It would seem that this area would have thrived in those days with life and vegetation as Lot was greatly impressed and chose the land to dwell in. When Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed, it could be that the destruction blocked the flow of water. With nowhere to go, the water became saturated with minerals and it could no longer provide for the vegetation. I am no scholar on this, however, and am merely speculating.
The water did not feel any different than regular water. It is completely clear, though. Once we were in the water, it was hard to stand. If you don't sit down into the water on your own accord, it will just happen because you cannot stay upright any longer. And then, you just float. It's so strange.
It is good to keep your mouth closed, create minimal splashing to keep water out of the eyes, and not to have any open wounds. Our quick float of 5-10 minutes was plenty for me and when we got out, our skin was covered in salt that you could visibly see.
Speaking of getting out...that is quite difficult to get yourself out of the float. Not very graceful at all.
It was an experience that most people will never have, however, and one of those things I could never picture until I was actually doing it. Something we will never forget.