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Sponge Diver's Nightmare collage.
One of America's most difficult-to-photograph free museum dioramas: The Dying Sponge Diver (video grab collage).

Spongeorama: Diver's Nightmare

Field review by the editors.

Tarpon Springs, Florida

A few feet from the "Sponge Diver's Dream" display in the Spongeorama Museum is a diorama we call Sponge Diver's Nightmare. A diver, ascending too rapidly with a prized sponge (probably the "Cadillac of Sponges" praised in the museum's introductory video), has died of the bends. Next to his body, a decorative sign states the obvious -- sponging is dangerous -- and attributes it to Newsweek.

We marvel at this exhibit each time we visit Spongeorama. Its cloudy protective glass seems deliberate, as if conjuring the murky terror of underwater sponge hunting. And the rubber suit of the diver is covered with a cancerous rot, like lizard skin, that radiates from his crotch. A nightmare for the diver -- but always grimly rewarding for the tourists.

Also see: Spongeorama


510 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL
On the north side of Dodecanese Blvd a block west of US Hwy 19, set back from the street, just west of the Mr. Greek Restaurant.
Daily 10-5:30 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Live Sponge Diving Boat TourLive Sponge Diving Boat Tour, Tarpon Springs, FL - < 1 mi.
Sponge Diver Memorial StatueSponge Diver Memorial Statue, Tarpon Springs, FL - < 1 mi.
Greek Shrine to Archangel MiracleGreek Shrine to Archangel Miracle, Tarpon Springs, FL - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Half 'n' Half the Two-Headed Calf, St. Petersburg, FL - 27 mi.

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