A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Howard Beach’

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Posted by graywacke on March 23, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (now pretty much an every-other-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Wow.  I’m hitting all the big USers.  First TX (#1 USer), then NM (#5), then VA (#3), and now the #2 USer . . . FL, 26/40; 5/10; 3; 150.9.  If my next landing is CA (#4), I’d have a Royal Flush.  Anyway, here’s my landing map:

Lucky I didn’t land in the G of M, eh?  Anyway, here’s the broader view:

Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed in what looks like an upscale neighborhood, recently built out on the peninsula.

The big story with this landing is that fact that I landed right on a road, and the road has StreetView coverage.  So, ladies and gentlemen, I have a close-up picture of my exact landing spot.  I’ve marked it with the oval:

Wow!  I hope your excitement matches mine . . .

Here’s a broader GE shot:

Notice the landform jutting out into the bay, just SW of my landing.  It turns out that it’s Howard Beach State Park, which is an island that has been connected to the mainland by a causeway.  Here’s a GE close-up:

And here are a couple of shots of the beach:

I mentioned that there’s a “causeway” connecting the mainland to Howard Beach.  This is my opportunity to expound on the root of the word.  It comes from the Latin, with the same root as the word “caustic.”  Well, caustic is associated with a strong base (as opposed to a strong acid), like lye.  Limestone is also “basic:”  water in contact with limestone has a high pH (acid has a low pH);  lime applied to soil increases the soil pH.  Anyway, the Romans built roads across swamps made out of limestone.  Putting this all together, you can more-or-less at least get a feel for why a causeway is called a causeway.  Phew – that was harder than I thought . . .

Moving right along – you can see on my landing map and on the broader GE shot, there’s an island off the coast, west northwest of my landing – it’s called Anclote Key.  Here’s a lovely picture that makes me want to be there:

Moving on to Tarpon Springs:  From the Tarpon Springs C of C site:

For Tarpon Springs, the boom started in 1887 when railroad service to New York was initiated. Wealthy Northerners came to this popular destination and built beautiful Victorian mansions; established churches, schools and hotels; and started businesses. Because the waters surrounding this area were teeming with sponges, divers from Greece came here and soon developed a flourishing sponge industry. The many Greeks who migrated here also set up enticing restaurants, pastry shops, and markets giving the area a Mediterranean mystique.

From Wiki:

In 1905, John Cocoris introduced the technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs. Cocoris recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, in particular Kalymnos, Symi and Halki leading, by the 1930s, to a very productive sponge industry in Tarpon Springs, generating millions of dollars a year. The 1953 film Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, depicting sponge diving, takes place and was filmed in Tarpon Springs.

When a red tide algae bloom occurred in 1947, wiping out the sponge fields in that region of the Gulf of Mexico, most of the sponge boats and divers switched to fishing and shrimping for a livelihood. The city then converted most of its sponge-related activities, especially the warehouses where they were sold, into tourist attractions.

The Sponge Docks are now mostly shops, restaurants, and museums dedicated to the memory of Tarpon Springs’ earlier industry. Most sponges sold on the docks are now imports: relatively few sponges are harvested from the area, although attempts have been made in recent years to restart local sponge harvesting.

Led by local businessman George Billiris, in the late 1980s the sponge industry made a comeback and in the fall of 2007, a record harvest of sponges by a single boat was made.

Proud of their Greek heritage, the town decorates with Greek & US flags:

Here’s a shot of a sponge boat, with what I assume are locally-harvested sponges:

As mentioned above, there’s also a shrimping fleet in Tarpon Springs.  Here’s a shrimp boat:

Here’s a back-in-the-day shot of downtown Tarpon Springs:

I’ll close with a sunset shot over the Tarpon Springs harbor:

That’ll do it. . .



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