After diving around the globe, Michel Braunstein, always on the lookout for an extraordinary destination, went to dip his fins in the waters of the Dead Sea: a strange experience through the crystals of salt, with 50 kilos of lead and a face mask!
50 KILOS LEAD
The Dead Sea, located 425 meters below sea level, has the particularity of having an exceptional rate of salinity. But what allows swimmers to float at ease becomes a serious handicap for divers. “To get down,” says Michel, “you need 40 to 50 kilos of lead depending on the size of the divers! ". These weights are distributed around the block, around the waist and at the front, on the shoulder straps of the vest. “The water,” he explains, “looks quite oily and the drops on the equipment don't dry easily. You really have to rinse and dry everything. Forgotten drops can last for several weeks. "
A FACIAL MASK TO PROTECT THE FACE
Dives in the Dead Sea are only done with a face mask to protect the face and mouth. A first training in the pool is therefore organized a few days before the date of the dive. “Then when the day comes, after a short briefing and reminder of how to use the masks, we descend the few salt rocks which still separate us from the sea. We put on our heavy weight belts, our vests with lead supplements around the block and add more full and very heavy pockets to the front of the vest. It is not very comfortable. We place our imposing face masks on the face, and off we go for a first dive: not easy to descend, despite all this weight. It is not easy to swim in these waters of unparalleled density. We quickly reach 8 meters deep. "
DIVING IN THE WHITE SALT REEFS
Michel, for this first dive, did not take his camera, but he could not help but do a little pirouette to find the best angle of view of a pretty statue of salt: " Bad luck, he says, a drop seeps into my mask and enters my left eye. Could not open it. One-eyed as I have become, there is nothing I can do underwater to improve the situation. I wave to the instructor and we rise to the surface. There, we rinse the eye with fresh water and after a few seconds, everything is much better and we leave to finish this first dive. »Here of course, no coral gardens, no fish, no plants, the white salt reefs follow one another, and it is only for the magical aspect of the underwater landscape that we set about. water. “Sometimes,” explains Michel, “a salt cathedral breaks the relief. Sometimes also, the walls reveal a canyon or a cave. And when the sun and good visibility come together, the crystals sparkle. "
WITH THE LOCAL DIVING CLUB
A club, Dead Sea Divers, is installed on the shores of the Dead Sea and has been offering the experience for twenty years now. Each dive is carefully prepared, to manage both the problem of buoyancy and the use of the face mask, it is therefore necessary to count several days on site. Diving is possible all year round, with the water temperature varying between 18 ° C in January and sometimes over 30 ° C in August. As for visibility, anything is possible, from 1 to 20 meters depending on the day!
Text: Michel Braunstein & Isabelle Croizeau
Photos: Michel Braunstein