Caladesi State Park to Tarpon Springs

OMG….Beautiful morning, but thousands of noseeums were hanging out in the cockpit of the boat. Bob and I were eaten alive as they swarmed around us when we went to take Auggie out for his morning walk. The rain must have hatched them all. We tried bug spray and bug wipes on ourselves. That seemed to keep a lot of them away, but not all. Bob took a towel and started swatting them behind the windshield and in front of the door. Thank goodness we had our door and hatches closed last night. Poor Denny and Brigid! They had their door and hatches open, but the screens were on, and still the noseeums got in while they slept. Denny said that the ceiling was black with them. Needless to say, they got very little sleep last night. About 8:15, Denny stopped over to say they were heading out. Bob helped them pull away from the dock at about 8:30. They were headed for Treasure Island and their Morgan Sailboat Rendezvous, officially called the Morgan Invasion. They had a 5 hour trip ahead of them and would spend the weekend there. We’ll see them back home next week. Bob and I quickly got everything ready to go, as the noseeums still kept biting us. We pulled away from the dock at 9:15. We were hoping that if we traveled a little faster, we could blow the remaining noseeums right out of the boat. That seemed to work. There was a light breeze blowing out of the west as we motored at 16 mph for the 10 miles to Tarpon Springs. We made our turn into the entrance channel at the 1887 Anclote Key Lighthouse. 

We motored slowly up the Anclote River to downtown Tarpon Springs.

We passed all the sponge boats as we neared our destination.

Arriving at 11:30, we tied up in the Tarpon Landing Marina for the night.

There is a nice restaurant called Capt’n Jack’s that sits at the waterfront at the marina. They have a great Tiki Bar where you can dock for lunch or dinner. 

After getting tied up and registered, we headed over to the restaurant to have nachos for lunch.

Auggie got his walk before we took the short stroll over the bridge to downtown Tarpon Springs.

It wasn’t too busy for a Friday, which was nice. We walked down Dodecanese Blvd, the main street in town. 

Our first stop was the Sponge Factory, where we watched a movie about the sponge fishermen and their trade. That was very interesting.

There were many types of sponges to buy for all different purposes. A trip to Tarpon Springs wouldn’t be complete with seeing a sponge diver who was sitting outside the Sponge Diver Supply store.

Bob stopped to check out one of the smaller dive boats along the waterfront. These are authentic dive boats still used today.

I had to get a look at the Sponge Diving Tour Boat, complete with sponges hanging on the lines.

Farther down the waterfront, a sponge boat had just come in with a load of fresh sponges. These are finger sponges, which were hanging there to dry.

Every now and then, as you walk down the street, you’ll hear some of the Greeks speaking their native language. The Greek people are definately proud of their heritage! Sponge diving, as the primary method of sponge harvesting, was first introduced by John Cocoris, the first Greek man to come to Tarpon Springs in 1896. In 1905, he and five other Greek men started a prosperous sponge diving business. Word of their success spread to Greece quickly and the migration of Greek people to Tarpon Springs continues to this day. The discovery of sponge beds along the Gulf of Mexico and the Anclote River changed its destiny and by the close of the 19th century, Tarpon Springs was on its way to being deemed the sponge capital of the world. Incredibly, in the 1920’s sponging was Florida’s largest industry and Tarpon Springs was its center. In town, there are many places to eat and shop. One of our favorites is Hella’s Greek Restaurant. Today we didn’t stop, although I was tempted, as I passed by the pastry window! After about 2 hours in town, we walked back across the bridge to the marina to relax a little before dinner. We had cocktails and then enjoyed a later dinner of salmon on the grill. We could hear the faint music of the band at the Tiki Bar tonight, but it won’t keep us awake. We had a busy day and turned in early after watching the end of our DVD from yesterday.

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