Kongo briefly visited Tarpon Springs, Florida today and checked out the sponge docks in this famous spot that self advertises itself as the “Sponge Capital of the World.” The sponge docks are about a quarter mile long. After a red tide algae bloom in 1947 wiped out most of the sponges in the area, the ships switched to fishing and shrimping although there are a few local sponges still harvested. Most of the sponges sold at the sponge docks today are actually imported.
Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of anyplace in the United States. Many immigrated here to work the highly profitable sponge industry starting in the late 1880s and introduced the deep sea diver gear technique perfected in the Greek Islands. Today the area is mostly tourist shops, restaurants (Greek food…what a surprise), and a few museums dedicated to the history of sponging.
Tarpon Springs is about 30 miles northwest of Tampa on Highway 19. The downtown area is being renovated.
Travel safe. Have fun.