Want a sponge?

black mambablack mamba Major grinsJacksonville, FLRegistered Users Posts: 6,958 Major grins
edited June 21, 2020 in Other Cool Shots

Tarpon Springs, FL. is the natural sponge capital of the world. Synthetic sponges have largely taken over the market but there is still a healthy demand for the natural sponge. Tarpon Springs is on the west coast of Florida, just a little north of Tampa. It has a strong, strong Greek influence to it. The industry really got to cooking in the very early 1900's . Rubber diving suits with an air supply and a bell-shaped helmet became available and that opened up the shallower waters of the Gulf Of Mexico to sponging. The industry grew rapidly until a sponge blight hit the area in the early 1940's. That shifted the main supply point to the Mediterranean area. The sponges came back to the Gulf in the early 1980's . Concurrently, the blight hit the Mediterranean at the same time and Tarpon Springs regained its title as the Sponge Capital of the world. It still holds that title.

Tarpon Springs also supports a very active fishing industry today. If you make it to the west coast of Florida, you won't regret a visit to this fascinating little place.

A couple of boats outfitted for sponging..

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Fishing activity still plays a role.

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The sponges are brought in, sized, graded, and offered for sale.

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Incidentally, the loofa brush often used for bathing and cleaning is not a sponge....it's a dried-out portion of the loofa plant

If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

Comments

  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am San Jose, CARegistered Users Posts: 7,928 Major grins

    Lots of history and cool facts dropped in here! Appreciate it very much! Cheers!

    So let me ask a dumb question.....you can just buy one and start using it? Its that simple?

  • black mambablack mamba Major grins Jacksonville, FLRegistered Users Posts: 6,958 Major grins

    It's that simple, Taz. I bought a couple of smaller ones for use in the shower. They hold soap very well and make excellent defoliation agents for dead skin. I have a couple of larger ones that I use in washing my vehicles....again, they hold the washing liquid very well and they won't harm the paint surface. My wife has multiple uses for them in the kitchen. Now those really large ones....I don't know. I do know that some industries use them and perhaps you just take a big one and cut it up for smaller applications. I don't get over to Tarpon Springs that much but when my supply needs replacement, that shop in the picture sends a new batch over to me.

    If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am San Jose, CARegistered Users Posts: 7,928 Major grins

    Awesome Tom! Learned something new!

  • OrvSalOrvSal Major grins Thomson, Ga. ex So. Cal.Registered Users Posts: 381 Major grins

    Thanks for the look at the sponges. I'm absorbing the info about them. Haven't seen a real one since the 60's. We are looking forward to taking a ride into Florida some time. I want to go to St Augustine and south to the Cape and Melbourne. ( I used to live in Melbourne) 1960-62.

    Have a great day!
    Orv

    Thomson, Ga. USA
    www.Osalisburyphoto.smugmug.com
  • black mambablack mamba Major grins Jacksonville, FLRegistered Users Posts: 6,958 Major grins

    @OrvSal said:
    Thanks for the look at the sponges. I'm absorbing the info about them. Haven't seen a real one since the 60's. We are looking forward to taking a ride into Florida some time. I want to go to St Augustine and south to the Cape and Melbourne. ( I used to live in Melbourne) 1960-62.

    By all means, Orv, if you make it to St. Augustine, please let me know. I'll be your personal tour guide. My wife is a native of the town and I'm down there A LOT. Take care.

    If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
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