Friday we drove to Eilat, a 4-5 hour drive. We stayed for two nights in a suite at the Orchid Hotel, a very beautiful, very full-service establishment. The suite had a very large, high-ceilinged bedroom, a dressing room, and a bath with a large shower and a huge tub. On the deck we had our own private 6-peson jaccuzi -- we were in and out around 6 times. Next to the jaccuzi was a large air mattress with white sheets and pillows for lying in the sun or contemplating the stars and the full moon. Bedroom, bath, and deck had unobstructed views of the Red Sea and the mountains of Jordan on the other side.
At the beach across the street, we both enjoyed snorkeling, and Len went scuba diving, which worked out well. The fish are familiar, resembling those in Hawaii, but everything seems to have been colored with a different pallatte. The trigger fish, which are gaudy and striped in Hawaii, were plain brown. The parrot fish were vivid reddish purple and bright green. The butterfly fish and angel fish are also very bright, novel colors. Hard and soft corals in shallow water are amazingly healthy.
On the drive back we slightly detoured to go past the Dead Sea, though we didn't stop. The drive back up to sea level is steep and winds through salt formations and rocky mountains.