Sponge Town

 Posted by at 12:03 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 222016
 

Even workaholics need a day off now and then, so when our pal Chris Yust told us that she and Charles were taking yesterday off to go play and that Miss Terry and I were going to do the same thing, who was I to argue?



They picked us up a little before 10 o’clock yesterday morning, and after a quick stop at Walmart to pick up Terry’s glasses at the optical department, and stop at the post office to mail off an order, we drove north across Tampa Bay. A bunch of kite surfers were riding the waves and we stopped to check out the action for a few minutes.

Parasailing 2 small

Then we continued on our way to Tarpon Springs, the Greek fishing town famous for sponge diving and baklava. Way back in the early 1900s, Greek direct diving crews came here to harvest the vast sponge beds of the Gulf Coast. They were successful beyond their wildest dreams and an entire industry was born.



This mural honors the early sponge divers who went underwater with primitive equipment to perform the dangerous work.

Mural

And here’s another tribute to the courageous sponge divers.

Sponge diver statue small

Today tourism is probably as big, if not bigger, than the sponge business. We have visited Tarpon Springs many times over the years because it’s one of our favorite places. We love wandering around the waterfront, poking our heads into all the little shops, and checking out the merchandise displayed on tables out on the sidewalk.

Sponges

Sponges 2

Not just sponges, but glass fishing floats, hats, T-shirts, souvenirs, and hand rolled cigars.

Glass floats small

Hats

There are a number of excellent Greek restaurants along the waterfront offering all kinds of delicious favorites. You can dine inside or on tables out on the sidewalk. It doesn’t matter where you sit, the food is going to be memorable. Trust me on this one.

Street tables

Tarpon Springs is colorful in more than one way. Check out these bicycles. Wouldn’t one of these be cool to tool around the RV park in?

Red bike

Pink bike

These days diving boats powered by diesel engines put to sea with a crew of six, including two divers. When brought to the surface, the sponges are piled on the deck and covered with a burlap bag until it is time to clean them.

tarpon springs fleet

Back in port the sponges are sold at the Tarpon Spring Sponge Exchange. The wool sponge is the principal species harvested in Florida waters, followed by the yellow, grass, and finger sponge.

We had a good time exploring Tarpon Springs, enjoyed a late lunch, and Terry stopped at one of her favorite spice stores and stocked up on some goodies. And yes, we all bought baklava to bring home with us!

In a blog a few days ago I told you that John and Kathy Huggins interviewed me for a Living the RV Dream podcast on guns in RVs. That podcast will be live today, starting about 7 AM Eastern time. You can access it at this Living the RV Dream blog link.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Sentinel In Elysium, the first book in my pal George Wier’s Elysium Chronicles series. It’s a small town mystery I know you’re going to like. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Sentinel in Elysium

Thought For The Day – My dentist told me I need a crown. I was like, “I know, right?”

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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