USF Libraries | Special & Digital Collections | Exhibits

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  • Tags: sponge diver

Nikolaos G. Skyllas (1926-2011) takes a break from demonstrating diving in hard hat sponge gear for tourists in February 1975. Like many, this veteran professional sponge diver turned to exhibition diving on the tourist boats in his later years.

John Maillis (1935-2002) and his crew pose on the sponge boat Dorothy J. Mailli. John Maillis, known widely as John the Greek, was one of the most highly respected sponge divers. Raised in Kalymnos and Tarpon Springs, he began diving at 14 years…

John Mehas removes the helmet from diver Leon “Roxy” Velousis. Note that the diver is holding a cigarette. Immediately after ascent, divers were often asked to smoke in order to discover whether they were developing decompression sickness. It was…
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