Yesterday, we travelled to Tarpon Springs, about 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg. Tarpon Springs has a very large Greek population, and is the Greek sponge-diving capital of the world. The purpose of our trip was observe the annual Epiphany celebration which includes the tossing of a weighted wooden cross into Spring Bayou. It was a beautiful blue-skied day with temperatures in the lower 70's - my kind of weather,
Information provided by Bay News 9 gives you a bit of history behind the cross dive.
TARPON SPRINGS --
Today, I asked Bruce to man the camera so that I could just enjoy the experience. I think he did a great job! Today's toss was a departure from previous years. The water was so dark and murky that the first thrown cross could not be found. A second cross was tossed and rapidly recovered. After the first young man was carried off in victory, several of the divers remained in the water in an attempt to find the original cross. After much searching, it was recovered! The honor will be shared jointly between the two young men throughout the coming year.
|The belly of a manatee - you're just going to have to take my word for it.|
|At the signal, the young men plunge into the water and scramble onto one of the little boats - the ones nearest the stand where the cross will be thrown from are the boats that are scrambled to first.|
|~ On they pile ~|
|~ Listening to the "Blessing of the Waters" and waiting for the toss ~|
|~ Eager anticipation ~|
|~ Ready, set .... ~|
|~ Go! ~|
|The young man who retrieves the cross is carried through the streets on the shoulders of his fellow divers.|