The Island of Sponge Harvesters & Climbers

Kalymnos Rock-Climber at Sunset, Photo: iStock.com | photobac | 25.11.2017

In 1903, the Maniat Ioannis Kokkoris reached New York (USA), Tampa city, Florida, specifically the fishers’ village Tarpon Springs. There, in 1905, he started with Spyros Vouteris the activity of sponge harvesting with Aeginites and Hydriots divers. Soon, the Kalymnian specialists got informed. This was the moment that a new type of colonization for the Greeks had started, but this time away from the Mediterranean and for a specific cause. They brought the traditional way of sponge harvesting to Tarpon Springs, an area rich in sponges, and they created the American cradle of sponge-diving. The Kalymnians were those that new very well the tough and dangerous work of sponge harvesting, which, over time, accumulated a lot of pain, but also wealth.

Panagiotis | Shiny Greece

Kalymnos Map.jpg

Testimonies of these facts (mansions, museums, statues) are everywhere on the island of the refractory and adventurous divers. Sponges bring farewells, cries, returns, fests, and unfinished love stories into the mind of travelers. But times change and reverse. The Kalymnians succeed again in the period of recession and reduction of sponge demand, without stopping its collection. Because their place is blessed and the people are progressive and open-minded. This time also, nature and its gifts guided them. They exploited the beauty of the sea and the land of Kalymnos, and also the wilderness and toughness of the landscape and they organized tourism, especially thematic tourism of climbing, exploration of rich caves and sea diving in the world of wreckages and local posidonia.

The international visitors of Kalymnos are served by the international airport of Rhodes (RHO) and the international airport of Athens (ATH).

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