B) Preparation and Departure
Easter had just gone and it was time for the sponge boats to leave. The trip would last from six to seven months. It was a really long time…
The families of the crew (especially the sponge divers) were very worried about their beloved ones health. Were they going to make it? Were they going to return home alive? Sponge diving has always been a dangerous profession and many divers have been drown and buried in unknown places.
The final preparations were made at Lafasi shipyard. Employees were taking care of the boats (painting, maintenance etc.), and checking for possible engine problems. They had to make sure that nothing would go wrong, during their long-lasting trip.
The captains of the boats had already made their deals with their sailors and the local store owners, who supplied them with food and everything else they‘d need during the trip. After all the preparations were completed, it was time for everyone, the captain and the crew, to celebrate. Their last night in Kalymnos, they were all gathered together while they were eating, singing, dancing and discussing the final details.
On the departure day, priests, surrounded by the majority of the Kalymnian people, were performing sanctification, so that God would keep their “children” safe. The wives were wearing their kerchief, sending their warmest wishes to their husbands, and they would take it off, only if their men returned.