Kalymnos Island has a world wide reputation due to its divers and sponge fishing. Sponge fishery has a long tradition on the island and contributes to the island’s economic prosperity.
Kalymnos together with Karpathos, Kasos, Nisyros, Symi and Halki are the main places that the so called “Voutichtadon” (divers who fish out sponges) originate from, whose activities spread out to the entire Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Recently they have expanded their “craft” even in countries such as America, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Until only a few decades ago, Dodecanesian divers used to dive naked (skin diving), meaning no protection gear and therefore learning by experience. These were the famous Voutichtades. Nowadays they use special diving suits and other modern equipment and meanwhile train at the Divers’ Public School of Kalymnos Island, which is the only diving school in Greece that provides its graduates with a public professional diving diploma. Divers from Kalymnos Island are famous in the entire Mediterranean Sea not only for their sponge fishery skills but also for any diving related operation. For the record the traditional skin divers stopped diving in 1895. Since then everyone has been using diving suits and following all safety measures. Source: http://www.kalymnosinfo.com/see-more/sponges/sponge-divers