Under the aegis of EcoPeace Middle East, a Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmental peace building organization which focuses on the region’s water and environment issues, twenty-five swimmers from a number of countries participated in the hot, unpleasant process of swimming eleven miles over the Dead Sea from Ein Gedi in Israel to Wadi Mujib in Jordan in the first ever swim-crossing of the salty body.
This was to protest the precipitous dropping of the Dead Sea’s waters, which have fallen eighty feet since the 1960s and lost a third of their surface area. The dry out is due to diversion of the Yardein’s water for agriculture, which leaves only ten percent for the Dead Sea. In addition, huge quantities of sea water are evaporated by the Dead Sea Works for the production of potash and other products.
The swimmers wore special masks and snorkels to protect their eyes and mouths from the sea’s up to 36 percent salt concentration. They found that the water’s buoyancy made swimming in the Dead Sea more tiring than regular water.
“If it’s possible to do the impossible, like swimming across the Dead Sea, then it’s possible to save the Dead Sea,” said Oded Rahav, who participated in the swim. “We are not just interested in raising awareness, but creating real action to benefit the Dead Sea.”