Monday, June 28, 2010

Israel / Dead Sea

Ashkelon, Israel June 18-21

After staying at Haifa, we sailed 95 miles to another port in southern Israel. Ashkelon is modern city, with a nice new marina. The passage was exciting at first, with 20 knots wind outside the harbour, gusting at 30 knots. We sailed closed-haul with the genoa and main sail, watching the setting sun to our starboard. Soon the wind began to die and also moved right on our nose, so it was time for the iron horse. The good breeze resumed in the morning, still against us, so we motor sailed into port. The marina at Ashkelon is a nice modern marina, except that the shore crew was not organized and led us into a slip too narrow for our boat. These slips have metal pilings, and if the boat is too wide, or not aligned perfectly for entrance, the hull could be rubbed against the pilings and getting damaged. Several boats suffered minor damages as a result, and ours received some scratches – first time it happened during this trip.

The harbour front at Ashkelon is nicely developed and provides miles of landscaped walking paths and sitting areas. The day time temperature is stifling – around 35C under the shade. We took a bus tour to visit the Dead Sea. After driving for 2 hours through the Judea Desert, the Dead Sea materialized through the desert haze like a mirage. The feeding water sources to the Dead Sea have all been diverted to the neighboring countries, and the Dead Sea evaporates at the rate of 1 meter per year. Much of the waterline has receded in recent years and at many places resorts were abandoned, now being miles away from water’s edge. We enjoyed the unique experience of floating in saturated salt water and taking a mud bath, in 40C heat. After that, a cold beer in the shade never felt so good.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there!! Well the Dead Sea never looked so ALIVE...mud baths...cold "drinks" hmmm...I think I could just "die there"! Nice reading the blog...but have to give the keyboard to Eliza now and let her give "a story" (hahaa...I am sure she has a few!!?) Well the heat here is just about the SAME! Believe it!! We are experiencing crazy heat wave...and I am still biking in it! ...I'm drinking....I'm "drinking"
    Cheers you guys!