Tarpon Springs

We are now in Tarpon Springs, Florida at Turtle Cove Marina.  Tarpon Springs first settlers came in the 1880s and was incorporated as a city in 1887.  The oldest city in Pinellas County.  Tarpon springs became a winter resort in the early 1900s with visitors drawn to the “healing waters” of the Spring Bayou.  The Spring Bayou is also the winter home to many manatees seeking warmth in the bayou.

My head was still spinning from our all night adventure when we arrived.  We were greeted by Dave and Jill from “Jill Kristy”and Herb the Harbor Host.  It was nice to be docked again.  Now Kent had to figure out how to use our 4 ft ladder so I could get off the boat.  This was the first time I have gotten off the boat on this trip and still felt like I was rocking normally it doesn’t bother me.

Dave and Jill from the “Jill Kristy” invited all the loopers that just arrived to join them at Cost’s for lunch.  This restaurant is known for their authentic Greek cuisine a Gyro Sandwich and Greek salads.  A Gyro sandwich is lamb and beef on pita bread with a cucumber dressing.  I liked the sandwich Kent however, was not impressed as he is not a lover of cucumbers.

After lunch we came back to the boat and tried to take a nap.  But we couldn’t fall asleep even though we were dead tired.  I should have went swimming in this beautiful pool area but was too tired.

We got a nice surprise from our daughter Amy Tuesday night.  They are all coming to visiting us this Friday.  They are flying into Clear water, Florida and plan on travel with us until Wednesday, when they have to fly home.  We are so excited about seeing them.  (I guess she has forgiving us for not calling her about the crossing)

Wednesday morning I washed the salt off the boat.  I could have put it in a salt shaker for Kent, as much as was on the boat.  Kent was busy with charting our next few days and reserving a spot at Clear Water marina.  When all our work was done we walked to Rusty Bellies for lunch with other loopers.

img_3382This restaurant on the water front is known for their fresh sea food and red crab claws. Kent ordered catch of the day fresh crab claws. You paid what market price was that day. Kent said he didn’t care the cost because crab claws were really good.  It’s always nice to have lunch with other loopers.   Some of them will be leaving their boat in different harbors and going home for the holidays.  The rest of us will continue on to Ft. Meyers for the winter.  We will travel for a while with Curt and Julie from the “CJ” and they will be stopping at Marker 1 and we will be continuing for nine more miles to our marina. We’ve had a great time traveling with them.

img_3391The restaurant Rusty Billies is near a dock for unloading shrimp.  We were just leaving the restaurant when the Julie Ann a shrimp boat was docking.  We stayed and watched the captain of the Julie Ann turn her around and dock so they could unload the morning catch.  The captain had to do some fancy maneuvers in such a narrow channel.

When we were finished with lunch we all wanted to check out the downtown Historic District that dates back to the early 1900’s.  Most of the original buildings are restored and still in use.  We found a store called Vegetable Ivory they have jewelry and carvings that are made from the seed of the Ciclantacea Palm that grow in the rain forest of South America.

When you walk the historical streets you will see bikes that are decorated.  Flowers are very popular on them but we also saw one decorated with sponges.  We walked past several taverns that were playing Greek music.

We also went by another Greek Restaurant Hellas.  Julie and Dave ate their and said it was on the fancy side and so were their prices.  They have a bakery next door that smelled so good.  They served ice-cream so Kent had to stop and get some.

Tarpon Springs was the largest industry for sponging in the 1920.  Sponge diving as the primary method of sponge harvesting was first introduced by John CoSpongCoris.  He was the first Greek man to come to Tarpon Springs in 1896.  He and five other Greek men in 1905 started a prosperous sponge diving business.

img_3420In 1920 Florida’s largest industry was sponging and Tarpon Springs was its center.  Word of their success spread to Greece and the migration of Greek people to Tarpon Springs continues to this day.  We stopped at the Sponge Factory and watched a short documentary on how they find, harvest and clean sponges.  They also informed us about the different kinds of sponges wool, yellow, grass sea, and silk and what each are used for.

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