Friday, February 14, 2014

Greece: Sponge Diving (spogaleeia)

Sponge diving is the oldest known form of the original art of underwater diving, in order to retrieve natural sponges for human use.
First were "skin divers" who simply ploughed across the Greek deep to collect sea sponges without any protective equipment. At the beginning of 19th century Greek islands saw a boom of their sponge industry due to new diving suit ...called 'scafandron'. They could dive even until 70m and stay underwater much longer. The sails started taking longer, sometimes up to 6 months. This is the reason why islands developed their customs to celebrate the time ships would leave the little ports full of dreams for a 'good catch' and recieve them back, few months later full of sponges and desires to meet their beloved ones. Along with the good money the standart suit brought so called 'divers disease', caused by quick decompression and bubbles in blood after one year dviving, resulting almost half of divers paralyzed or dead..

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