A freediving technique that fascinates me and that I would like to try in New Zealand. It could be super efficient on a good scallop bed!
Let’s dive into ancient Greece to meet the sponge divers and their amazingly simple technique to dive: The Skandalopetra!
Literally, stone that makes you fall. As a scandal is supposed to make you fall right? ;)
The technique used is simple, a 10/15-kilograms stone attaches to a rope that they use to immerse themselves underwater until they reach the sea bottom.
The diver has to cut the sponge and tie it to a special net before coming back to the surface. Then the boat crews bring the stone back to the surface with the net.
At this period of time, sponges were hugely useful, as the synthetic components were not invented. Sponges were massively harvested through the century, until a point where the species were almost extinct…
Natural sponges had many uses such as: Bathing item, applicators (paint, ceramic etc), feminine contraceptive, helmet padding, filter etc.
Also part of the sponge diver’s job was to recover trade item: some valuable items fell from trading boats or unfortunately sank with the boat itself… Skandalopetra divers where often contracted to recover valuables underwater.
Some artifacts have been recovered from the sea and now kept in Sea museums but also some modern version are made around the world.
I personally believe that could be a cool experience to bring back and quite fun to do on a scallop bed. If anyone knows a rock sculptor or rock cutter that could make the rock in the shape as they were I would be interested to hear from them. J