Why are we abandoning our islands?

I consider myself as a lucky person because I can sail to the islands and enjoy the wonderful Greek nature, I speak Greek and I can discuss with locals and share ideas and opinions with them.  Last July I visited some of the Dodecanese and some of the Cyclades islands of the superb Aegean Sea.

I share with you some facts that have impressed me and make me ask a big W H Y?

1. Pserimos island had about 120 school pupils during the 70s.  Today Pserimos has only 27 people in total

Pserimos island

 Sponge fishing used to be a primary source of income for the majority of Dodecanese families (especially for divers from Kalymnos, Pserimos and other adjacent islands).

After 1986 (The Chernobil explosion) 90% of the Mediterranean sponges were severely suffered – a kind of getting dried.

In addition, the import of cheap substitutes of sponges from China made may inhabitants of these islands to leave their home land and migrate.  Instead of some thousands of tons of sponges sold nowdays they have no more than a few hundreds of tons that nobody knows how to «push» to the market.  I wonder couldn’t anyone promote them through internet as an organic original product of Greece?

sea food from Greek watersFouska bottled from a caique in PserimosSome of these divers either from Kalymnos or from Pserimos are collecting some sea food named «spignalo» or «fouska» which they bottle and distribute to tavernas in the major Greek cities.  They dive deep in waters of Northern Aegean (around Thassos island) just to make their living.

But do you think it is possible to make a leaving just by that?

I wandered at Kalymnos and I found so many houses deserted with double and triple locks that I was really shocked and I will continue to ask WHY ARE WE LEAVING OUR ISLANDS EMPTY?

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2 comments

  1. Venetia, I like your post and pics from Kalymnos and Pserimos. They, as well as Telendos, are wonderful islands. We have spent vacations a few years agon In Kalymnos and had the opportunity to go a lot around. Indeed, there were closed houses, but in summer Greeks from USA, Australia are coming back, they open their houses and even set up summer business e.g. restaurants, small convenience shops, etc. What you relate may be a further island desertation by the local youth population.
    Spignalo is the local delicatessen as well as kritharokouloura, made only with krithari. Both are to be found in select shops in Athens. Kalymnos is also well known for top quality fish catch. I remember having bought at the local fisher’s shop a 10kg!! rofos (we were more than 12 persons for dinner) that we cooked the Kalymnian way.
    Kalymnos that in the recent years sees some growing sport tourism could, if assisted by the state with better transportation connections, become a major destination together with Rodos and Kos.

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