Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Snorkeling in Eilat

Sunday was our free day and we had the option of going to Eilat to snorkel... needless to say, everyone took that option. Our day started at 5:30 am (hello again seminary days), and then we had a four hour bus ride to Eilat. Once we got there, we were oriented on the rules of the beach and water. The place we went to is actually a national park, so they are very specific about where we can swim and snorkel and what we can touch. They had a lot of rules to orient us about. I don't think too many of us really truly cared though- we were all just so happy to be on the beach! Eilat is right at the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba above the Red Sea; the Sinai peninsula is on one side, and Jordan and Saudi Arabia are on the other side. It was really beautiful: the sea was blue, the beach was sandy, the palm trees swayed, and then it blended from beach to mountains. So picturesque! It was also very sunny, which I loved (though my slightly sunburned skin might not have loved it so much). At first the water was a little chilly, but as soon as you got in it was fine. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to snorkel in one little strip of water, but it was still fun and exotic and fishy. Some people even saw a sting ray! My favorite fish were the long, needle-like, clarinet fish (I don't know if that's their real name, but it's what we all called them), and these little jet black ones with a small white dot on the upper back fin. Vague description, I know. There was this one big coral head towards the edge of the allowed swimming area, and it had lots of fish and sea urchins and beautiful coral. There were even those big school of fish like in "Finding Nemo" that switch direction all at the same time and glimmer in the water. It was beautiful to watch. After snorkeling for a bit, we just sat on the beach and ate our sack lunches and sun bathed, then we wet out to swim again. I loved just being out of the city and sitting on the beach! Such a nice little weekend escape. After our snorkeling time was over, we headed into the resort town of Eilat and walked around the pier for about an hour. We saw some cool boats and fun shops and nice hotels. Then, we got on the bus to grab dinner on the way back home. The best part about dinner was dessert. They had a wide selection of gelato/ice cream, and I got the mango; it was so delicious. It really is about the little things in life. After dinner we just headed back to the center. We were all so exhausted from a fun day in the sun!

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