A few years ago, I saw a BBC documentary that prompted a life reinvention. The documentary was about two marine biologists living in Tofo, Mozambique, studying Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. I was captivated by the Mantas…I had never seen one while diving or snorkeling before, only through binoculars on the surface of the water. Having already had some experience with Whale Sharks, I was also extremely interested in their ecology
I began searching for dive trips where I could do some volunteer work, even to just do fish counts. All Out Africa had a program working with Whale Shark Identifications and fish population counting in Tofo, Mozambique….helping with the whale shark program I had seen on the documentary! I thought, why can’t I do that? It was for adults, not a high school or college program or a gap year, but for adults. My family had a few reasons they did not want me traipsing off to Africa by myself, and I suppose there were some good reasons among them, but I made the decision to go. I booked my trip. It appears crazy, absolutely nuts, to pick up and head off to Africa for 6 weeks by yourself, to live in an unpopulated area where there are no doctors, and the closest thing to a town, Inhambane, was at least an hour away. Was there a Decompression chamber in case of getting “the bends”, or decompression sickness? No. The closest one was in Johannesburg. Not a hop skip and a jump away. The message? Don’t get sick.
So off I went, a midlife woman with a passion for diving and animals, off on my very own adventure. It was the best gift I ever gave myself. I was tested physically (I’ve had two back surgeries and a few other physical limitations), and I was tested mentally… the experience empowered and helped me understand my abilities in an entirely different light. The trip was challenging, the environment both exhilarating and disturbing, and certainly the living standard was not what I was used to. T
I continue reading Tam Warner Minton’s blog about her time with All Out Africa in Tofo, Mozambique.