A Weekend Floating Between Egypt and Israel


This week my parents and sister arrived in Amman! It was so much fun taking them around the city that had become my new home. As they went on their daily excursions and I went to class, I was excited to be able to spend the weekend with them in Aqaba. The drive to Aqaba was quite long, four and a half hours along the Dead Sea Highway. However, the long hours were worth it for Aqaba was a beautiful and much needed oasis. The town of Aqaba itself was filled with eateries and small jewelry shops. Our hotel was twenty minutes outside of the town of Aqaba and overlooked the Red Sea and the mountains of Egypt. It was so surreal to be that close to Egypt. We could have swam over to it!! Our room was across from a marina and the docked boats on the water reminded me of New England marinas. It was easy to forget that I was in Jordan.

Later that day we decided to venture outside into the Red Sea and it was very refreshing. I had anticipated the water to be very hot like the Dead Sea but thankfully it wasn’t because the outside temperature was 104 degrees!! Since we went to the beach later in the day, the sand had cooled off, so it was not as scorching on our feet. The beach reminded me of Cape Cod beaches where the sand turns to a bed of pebbles on the coastline. It was so relaxing floating in the water. I was fully enjoying my weekend absent of the bustle of Amman and the constant stimulation of city living. I very much felt at home. I was though very surprised at the salinity of the water. When we left the ocean we had a layer of white salt film coating our bodies. It felt amazing to submerge into the hotel pools afterwards. It felt cleansing of all of the salt of the Red Sea.

The following day we decided to snorkel before I had to head back to Amman for classes the following day. I was expecting to have to take a boat out to a farther point to be able to see the infamous coral reefs and fish of the Red Sea but fortunately we were able to just take out equipment and walk right out to into the ocean! I put my mask on, walked about forty meters and saw a swarm of fish feeding on coral. The coral was beautiful, it was colors of soft yellows and red-orange. There were bits of light blue and very faint purples. In niches there were burgendy colored sea urchins and when the sun-light twinkled through the small ripples of the sea, the urchins appeared to be moving with the current. As I sat there floating and watching the fish I found myself enveloped in a school of small minnow looking fish. They were golden, just like a goldfish, and very small. I was surprised at how close the fish came to me. I was mesmerized by the colors of the fish. There were fish of electric purple color. Some were half black and half white-gray with a neon orange yellow streak. Others were black and tan striped. Some were bright red and small, feeding on the color or swimming on top of other larger fish. It was so interesting watching the fish swim around each other, nibbling on the coral without a care about these large lurking bodies watching them from above.