Posted by: DG MARYOGA | 06/05/2011

Sea Life and USA-Greek connections

Natural sponges in Tarpon Springs

Image via Wikipedia

Sister City in USA – The Kalymnian Society of Tarpon Springs Florida USA

Kalymnian Sponge or "Kalymnian Gold"

 From the bath in the garden just to set off  its beauty among  other natural elements,reviving its marine life and the place of its  origin.It was given to me as a special present from a brave Kalymnian sponge diver who was lucky enough to escape the “divers’ disease”. Ever since,I keep it untouched to admire its beauty and recall its life in the sea-beds of the Aegean seas.

Its round shape reminds me of the Mercury NASA images which show  its cratered terrain and the exciting  beauty of the smallest planet in the Solar system.Messenger’s historic,orbital images with the artistic onomatology of the craters ……Callicrates,Camoes,Boccaccio,Rameau,Debussy…   Oh Gosh ! I love to pair off  and interrelate Natural Beauty,Space Magic,Universe Wisdom….

 Kalymnos sponges are known since ancient times . Homer and Aristotle often refer to the use of them.They are also of high quality and famous all over the world.The marine animals,source of income for the Kalymnians up until twenty years ago, were destroyed by a disease that hit the eastern Mediterranean where the beautiful island of Kalymnos is.The sponges were decimated but there are still hopes that it  won’t be permanent.Nature will undertake its role to cure the wounds of the sea-beds… Nevertheless,the islanders still hold some celebrations after Easter to keep honouring the relationship between the Kalymnians and the sponges.It’s part of their tradition which they want to keep alive.Their sponge stories have always fascinated me through literary books and novels and I totally admire the  sea-farmers’  dangerous occupation and the exciting harvesting of sponges from the sea-beds.

Well,Kalymnos,an Aegean island between Kos and Leros that belongs to Dodecanese =(12 islands) , with a lot of springs,as well as a thermal spring and Sister City in USA,The Kalymnian Society of  Tarpon Springs Florida USA…   Isn’t it wonderful?

A small Greece in  Pinellas,at the other end of the world where around 1880, the first Greek immigrants from Kalymnos,Halki and Symi arrived in Tarpon Springs Florida,hired as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry.It’s  a small,vast world……

Sea life Beauty


  1. How wonderful! It’s been quite a while since I visited Tarpon Springs but I’ve been wanting to go back. Maybe this is the time! Of course I will think of you and your Greek islands! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so very much my sweet friend Linda!When you mentioned the city I remembered my 2011 post,which was a tribute to the Kalymnian sponge divers and to the Sister City in USA.If you ever go again,please take some photos 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m no expert on conch but I think it is a queen – it is aamost 25 centimetres long!


    • If its openig is pinkish and 25 centimetres,it must be an adult queen ,a gigas as they say.Well,enjoy it without any guilt whatsoever.It’s all yours now…The conch shell I bought in Rhodes is of the same size but it is pink all over.Yet,I hear the oceans’ roar…


  3. There is an interesting and amusing description of sponge diving in the Grek Island Hopping Bible by Frewin Poffley (an invaluable book when visiting the Greek Islands). In 2004 I went to St Lucia in the Caribbean and bought a conch shell from some men on the beach. I brought it home but have always worried about it being a protected species and possibly illegal.


    • Ooh ! The Hopping Bible,updated every single year, as far as I know.
      I reckon, Greece benefits from books of that sort and so do their authors,although,I would expect a more “apposite”,catching title for this particular one.
      Concerning your conch shell,good buy,I consider you were lucky enough since it was not confiscated.Is it a Queen one ? Most Caribbean countries have already banned export and trading of this protected species.Presumably, it is mostly illegal and immoral for those who sold it to you.Let’s suppose that tourists don’t have a good knowledge of the law. Besides, measures were not that strict then.
      I have a pink conch shell which I bought in Rhodes,almost twenty years ago.It is equally beautiful and legal,at least, I suppose.When I affix it on my ear I can hear the noises of the Aegean seas… They are also lovely wind instruments.
      Thank you for your interesting comment.


  4. Thanks for the post about these beautiful sponges. I have a collection that I use for painting. I take care of them and prize them. Your information has made them even more special even if mine are not kalymnian sponges. Love shells also.


    • Ooh,Gretchen !
      It’s so sweet and touching how people all over the world share and highly value little things and ideas.Honestly,I couldn’t expect that you would appreciate and treasure the natural,sea sponges so much.
      I am assuming that you wii also appreciate the loofah,plant sponges.I love them too, not only because they are natural but also because my mum loved to grow them in her garden here in Athens and in her orchard by the seaside. Now,I simply buy them in the drug stores.Definitely,they are of better quality but they don’t feel as soft as hers ………
      As for the shells you like,I bought them in the island of Rhodes.
      Your comment gave me great pleasure,Gretchen.
      Thank you


  5. nice work!kalymnian sponges are characteristic elements of greek tradition and trading!they keep our culture alive!!! D


    • Absolutely,Lady D.It’s really amazing how nicely we share tradition and history all over the world,a world that we all share and it’s a Give-Take,balanced relationship..
      Have a nice day.


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