Tied to the Mast

David Dyjack, DrPH, CIH

Athenian nature is social, communicative, and restless, while at the same time unhurried and not necessarily troubled by punctuality. So, I was more than pleased when the Kalypso Divers' van arrived promptly at 8 a.m. to whisk me and a handful of Russians and Danes out for a day of scuba diving in the Libyan Sea. The route we travelled originated in the timeless, old city of Rethymno as we embarked on a tortured 60-minute drive over narrow and winding roads to the south of Crete.

The initial adrenalin rush of the scuba diving experience stimulated my senses as I marveled at yellow-headed moray eels some 80–100 feet beneath the surface. Stones comprised the foundation of the sea bottom, providing safe haven for vulnerable marine life and a stabilizing presence against erosion. After achieving neutral buoyancy, I reflected on Greek mythology, particularly on the goddess Hygeia—the personification of health and cleanliness. The Greeks were among the first to recognize the value of the healing and disease prevention arts, as much of the modern public health profession is grounded by the efforts of environmental health professionals. We benefit by learning from what history can teach us as we embark on our journey into the future.

Read the DirecTalk Column in Full


Journal of Environmental Health
December 2016
Volume 79, Number 5