- The Dead Sea Swim
- / first
- Not Applicable ()
On 15 November 2016, a team of 25 multi-national swimmers became the first people to swim across the Dead Sea in a bid to draw attention to the plight of the long-shrinking body of water, as part of a challenge organized by local swimmers, endorsed and supported by the NGO EcoPeace Middle East. Starting in the Wadi Mujib river delta in Jordan, the group swam to Ein Gedi in Israel, covering a distance of 17.5 kilometres (10.8 miles) over a duration of seven hours. Owing to the high salt content of the Dead Sea (a concentration some 10 times higher than average seawater), which could cause serious respiratory problems if swallowed, the swim presented some unique challenges; notably, the participants needed to wear special full-face snorkel masks and take regular breaks every 45 minutes, to rinse the mask, drink and eat. However, the swimmers remained in the water during the breaks.
The successful swimmers were: Erez Amir (ISR), Doron Amosi (ISR), Ram Barkai (ZAF), Kim Chambers (NZ), Luc Chetboun (ISR), Jacqueline Cobell (UK), Jean Craven (ZAF), Ben Enosh (USA), Udi Erell (ISR), Adina Faur (ISR), Evan Feldman (ZAF), Juandre Human (ZAF), Hylton Lockitch (ZAF), Dov Litvinoff (ISR), Neil Macaskill (ZAF), Karon Marx (ZAF), Yussuf Muhammad Ahmad Matari (PSE), Samuel Moran (ESP), Gita Osrin (ZAF), Nick Papageorge (DNK, b. GRC), Oded Rahav (ISR, b. ETH), Ori Sela (ISR), Abigail Thomson (UK), Avishag Turek (ISR) and Herman van der Westhuizen (ZAF).
The Dead Sea is the lowest exposed body of water on Earth, at approximately 430 m (1,410 ft) below sea level, and also the saltiest one. Its water level has been steadily reducing for the past two and a half decades by more than a metre a year on average.
The swimmers were accompanied by a small fleet of boats carrying medical staff and other support crew in case of emergency. The support team comprised: Shabtai Almozlinos (ISR), Dr Yossef Azoulay (ISR), Uri Brown (ISR), EcoPeace Middle East (ISR/JRD/PSE), Nimrod Erez (ISR), Dr Daniel Assaf King (ISR), Ronen Lazar (ISR), Yaron Malavsky (ISR), Kamini Moodley (ZAF), Dr Yoav Paz (ISR) and Nicolene Steynberg (ZAF).