Playing in Tampa Bay
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Tarpon Springs Sponge BoatRe Metau - Playing in Tampa BaySponging From the Sea
October 2007
 
Much of old Florida’s eccentric tourist attractions have faded away into pastel colored nostalgic memories, as the coast is continuously bulldozed for million dollar cookie-cutter condominiums with quaintly misleading names like ‘Harbor Place’ and ‘Sand Pearl’. Some areas, however, have withstood the alleged improvements of change and held firmly to the cherished connectedness with their history. As the blight of western culture’s homogeny infects most every corner of the world, I’ve begun to appreciate more and more the uniqueness of those areas that refuse to yield to the monotony. Tarpon Springs is one such place.
Tarpon Springs Sponges

This predominately Greek community was lured by the rich sponge beds found in the warm Gulf waters. These simple, sessile creatures became the root of a rich heritage that sweetens their life with honey and spices it with cardamom. Their coffee is thick as lava, and their traditions are steeped in both religion and superstition. Sponge boats line the docks and sponge diving is still very much the industry that keeps this area lively. Downtown is lined with shops full of many varieties of sponges, homemade soaps, olive oils, pastries and all manner of Hellenic Republic treasures.

Weather SignsCoconut Pirate

The Anclote River that serves as Tarpon Spring’s gateway to the Gulf also harbors many commercial fishing vessels, crabbers and shrimp boats. As a result, it is lined with dozens of ship chandleries, boat yards, and most every conceivable type of water-craft related business. Our life on the river was full of flavorful food, major accomplishments and peaceful evenings. In this time of ever growing uniformity to brand named identity, it gave me hope to discover a place that had fused its history with its new life abroad, and evolved into a unique community full of variety and distinction.


Miss Vickies

 

 


 

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""That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs but what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom." ~ Jack Sparrow