Wandering around the old town this morning, I turned into a narrow alley behind the main church (Treis Hierarches) and came across yet another wonderful shop, ‘The Beauty of the Sea’:
Given Skiathos’ centuries-long association with the sea, its glorious ship-building past, its generations of merchant sailors and its fishermen, whose reliance on the watery underworld for much of the islanders sustenance, still continues today, its only fitting that there should be a shop celebrating all things to do with marine life. This one is a veritable treasure chest of all things exotic and unique, with fine examples of plant and animal marine-life from the Deep;
There are natural brown (‘Kalymnos’) sponges (including some extremely rare and highly-prized specimens):
Delicate lace-like corals:
and amazing shells of every size, colour and description, from huge conch shells, sea urchins and barnacles (whose shape and colours remind me of large tulips!) to the daintiest star fish, all found by divers in waters not only Greek but from as far and wide as Australia, Thailand, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
Everything is beautifully displayed in a calm, nautical and totally natural setting; driftwood shelves and mirrors line the pale turquoise walls and fishing baskets and lobster-pots, brimming with interesting and exciting finds, rest on the white lime-washed floorboards. Alongside thoughtfully-placed marine objects such as wooden boats, fishing nets, ships wheels, sepia photographs, old sailors postcards and traditional sea captains chests:
more unusual examples of the perils of the deep can be found, such as this highly poisonous (not alive, thankfully, but ‘preserved’) ‘Blow’ or ‘Puffer’ fish:
And a more familiar predator (though equally dangerous in it’s natural habitat) a preserved shark:
This beautiful collection is the work of the lovely Lorna (see below) and her partner.
Please visit their website: ‘www.thebeautyofthesea.com to find out more about them, their work and the exact location of their wonderful shop – it’s well worth a visit – and to discover the origins and rarity of the many unique treasures they have on display and if you’re looking for a more ‘useful’ souvenir what better to grace a bathroom back home than a natural sponge, loofah, pummice stone or exotic shell, to remind you of a wonderful beach holiday on a Greek island in the sun?