Day 36 - Snorkeling in Eilat, Sand Dunes and Chill Time
When our alarm went off at 5 am I wasn't so excited to get out of bed and go do an optional hike, but I decided it would be an amazing opportunity, so instead of clicking the snooze button I got up. When we arrived at the starting point it was so dark we couldn't even see who was around us. We started hiking on the rocky terrain as we watched the outlines of the mountains surrounding us grow more and more defined and the sky slowly get more colourful. The walk wasn't too hard and we all coped by chatting away to our friends and singing songs until we reached the base of one of the mountains. The steep track was exhausting and everyone struggled to reach the top. But once we got there and turned back to see how far we had come, we were all very proud of ourselves. When we reached our destination I was amazed. The view was stunning. From the peak we could see all of Eilat, the Jordanian and Egyptian borders, as well as Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea. As we waited for the sun to fully rise we did prayers. We prayed while watching the sun come out from behind the adjacent mountain and the orange glow reflected on the water. It was a magical experience.
After a large breakfast to satisfy our hunger from the hike we were driven to the Eilat wharf. We arrived at the dock and all the girls boarded the boat. The driver played music over the loud speakers and all the girls danced and we had a great time. It was nice to spend time with just the girls and be able to bond together over such a fun experience. We anchored and were able to go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and saw a whole array of fish and coral. One of the best moments of the day was when a dolphin swam beside the boat.
After a delicious lunch at burgers bar we were driven to a beach. The beach was separated into boys and girls and we all tanned and basked in the warm sunlight admiring the gorgeous view over the water of Eilat. A few of us also checked out a children's fair that was happening next door. We went on a few of the jumping castles and played carnival games.
All exhausted from the already long day we slept for the hour long bus to the sand dunes. When we got there we saw a massive sand hill in front of us. We eagerly ran determined to reach the top of the hill. We arrived panting but the hard part was over and we all had so much fun rolling back down the hill. I had sand everywhere but that didn't stop me rolling down again and again. The last time we went down all of Lehava screamed "IST" and sprinted down the hill.
In the evening, we were treated with jam donuts as we lit the Hanukah candles for the second day. Then we walked down to the Tayelet and met up with Netzach. The promenade was filled with many shops and markets and it was nice to spend time with our friends from the other side.
Today was definitely one of my highlights of IST and made me so grateful that I was able to be apart of this amazing program to experience Israel in a way I had never done before, surrounded by my cohort participating in the most incredible activities.
By Laila Reuven