Local Bike Adventures – Sponges in Tarpon Springs, Florida

For those of you following this bike blog, who don’t live in Florida, we thought we’d share some of our local sights that we get to enjoy when we cycle around our area.

We’ve spent 4 years living here in Florida, on the west/Gulf coast, near Tampa/St.Pete. The first place which we lived here in FL (all within a few miles of each other) was Indian Rocks Beach, then we moved to downtown Clearwater and currently, we have the RV parked in Palm Harbor, just north of Dunedin near the water (not forgetting that Dominic spent quite a few elementary/middle school years living on the east coast of FL).

Earlier this week, we cycled up to Tarpon Springs to meet new friends, Ron & Petra, who have previously cycled all over the US, EU, North Africa & SE Asia – very inspiring. Check out their great blog and YouTube channel – full of tips, advice and great photos from their adventures.

Tarpon Springs is a lovely town, just north of where we currently live in Palm Harbor and we can utilize the local Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail to get there. The town is the home of a sizeable Greek community – it actually has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US – and so, you can sure of good Greek food here.

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The bakery at Hellas Restaurant in Tarpon Springs

Along with the great gyro’s & baked goods, Tarpon Springs is most known for their sponge docks on Dodecanese Boulevard, along the Anclote River. The docks are right in the midst of all the restaurants & shops and here you can see a working fleet of sponge boats and the trade they ply. They dive for the sponges here and a huge percentage of the natural sea sponges which are sold around the world still come from Tarpon Springs. If you’d like to know more about diving for sponges, check out this great article.

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Tarpon Springs has some great murals

When we were there this week, we were lucky enough to see some sponges being processed on the dock – the crews were rinsing them on their boats and tossing them onto the sidewalk to be collected for further drying & ultimately, for sale.

Tarpon (3 of 6)

Tarpon (5 of 6)

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Tarpon (6 of 6)

For anyone who hasn’t yet visited Tarpon Springs, be sure to check it out when next in the area and you too might see them unload their (slightly stinky!) bounty from the Gulf of Mexico.

One last photo for you – and this one is not from Tarpon Springs – but, from the Florida Keys where some sponge collecting is still done with hooks (not diving).

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Cleaning sponges in the Florida Keys

 

Join us next time, when we cycle ~45 miles for some Lebanese food!

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Please follow us on our blogs:

  • Florida Adventures blog
  • RV Road Trip blog
  • Cycling Adventure blog

Check out more of our photos here and keep up to date with our Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Local Bike Adventures – Sponges in Tarpon Springs, Florida

  1. Very nice write you two and love the photos. Great stuff! It was our pleasure meeting you two and being inspired by your sense of living life to the fullest! It’s a rare trait these days, but you get it and we get you! Looking forward to your adventure and we hope you have many great days on the road. You’re gonna have down days, but you’re going to have even more UP days as you cycle the world. You’re also going to experience just how flat the world is… NOT! Safe travels and hope you have tailwinds. Cheers! Ron & Petra.

    Liked by 1 person

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