The Diving Heritage of Kalymnos Island

Kalymnos is famous as the Sponge Divers' Island.

proccessed natural sponge The main activity of Kalymnian population was diving, processing and trading sponges. Until a few years ago due to huge and repetitive crisis since World War II. To name a few:

  • The appearance of the synthetic sponge.
  • Fishery restrictions by the Mediterranean countries.
  • Almost total destroy by epidemic in 1986, 2002 and 2013.

Kalymnos is the only Greek Island with active sponge divers. And still remains a worldwide center for sponge processing and trading.

Diving for sponges

sponge divers Sponge divers travelled for sponges all over the Mediterranean Sea with 6 to 17 meters boats. Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunise, Marroco, Malta, Italy...

In Early 70ies, most Mediterranean countries nationalized their marine resources. And suspended sponge diving for Greek divers.

Since then, sponge diving with Kalymnian boats takes place only in Greek seas.

Diving methods

paint at Kalymnos Nautical Museum showing sponge diving Sponge divers use various diving methods.

From antiquity until a few yars ago, it was free diving with "Skandalopetra". The safest diving method that ever existed.

When diving equipment evolved, it was either "helmet", "fernez", "bottles" or "nargile".

In our days the diving method is "nargile". A continuous air support from a compressor on the boat.

Sponge processing

Natural sponges are black, hard and full of stones when fished. Processed sponges are yellow and soft, suitable even for children's skin.

natural sponge just picked off the sea proccessed natural sponge

It needs a lot of experience, knowledge and manual work to transform them. The know-how of the transformation is a traders family secret.

Sponge trading

Kalymnian traders controll more than 70% of sponge commerce worldwide. Back in 1900, the most important trader was Nikolas Vouvalis. He had his base on Kalymnos Island and London England. With branches in Cuba, Florida USA, Nassau Bahamas and the Greek islands Aegina, Simi and Chalki.

Kalymnian traders still process and commerce local production sponges. Along with imported sponges from other Mediterranean countries, USA and Cuba.

Visit our website for more information:

Our facebook page with daily cativity and photos:

Contact us

Mikes Reissis
+30 6973015550

Mikes Reissis, Owner & Managing Instructor, Reservations

Nikolas Reissis
+30 6947604120 

Nikolas Reissis, Information


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About us

Kalymnos Island

Kalymnos is an unspoiled picturesque Greek island. Located between Kos Island and Leros Island in the Aegean sea, Greece.

KALYMNOS Diving Center

We are an authorized PADI 5 Star Dive Resort. The only one on the island. Pioneer since 2008.

KALYMNOS Diving Center is an Authorized PADI 5 Star Dive Resort

With individual care and attention, we offer:

Recreational scuba diving and PADI training for beginners and for certified divers.

We offer Free PADI eLearning for all courses.

Decrypting the "PADI 5 Star Dive Resort"

PADI = Professional Association of Diving Instructors. The biggest diving training organization worldwide.

5 Star = we provide professional and outstanding service

Dive Resort = we cater to the traveling diver.

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