A common sight in the early 1900s was the washing, sorting, packing and shipping of bales of sponges. The story goes that most of the fishermen were of Greek descent, in fact even today there are many families with greek names.
Sponge Fishing was a speciality of the men from Kalymnos, but like many fishing ventures, they over fished their Mediterranian waters, and were looking for alternative spots. One promising area was The Bahamas, so many moved here from Greece.
A sponge diver would venture out in a small boat and search the bottom using a glass bottom bucket. When the found a suitable sponge they dived with a heavy stone to take them down fast, cut the sponge free and return to the surface. They often reached depths of 100 feet and stayed down for up to 5 minutes. This dangerous occupation claimed many lives and caused others lasting damage.
Eventually the economics changed, and artificial materials replaced the demand and the industries decline.
Even now, as you walk the beaches, sponges are to be found washed up on the shore.