Mantas, Whale Sharks, and the Marine Megafauna Foundation

FIRST PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 25, 2013, 15 DAYS AFTER MY HUSBAND HAD A DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT.

#TBT, MMF, Manta Rays

Giant Manta Ray

I volunteered in Tofo, Mozambique in May 2012 and met many of the scientists of the Marine Megafauna Foundation.  I admire these people so much for their dedication to saving  important animals in our oceans, animals threatened by ignorant beliefs, shortsightedness, and unsubstantiated medical claims.  I signed up to go to Komodo in January, on a 2 week research trip, looking for mantas and encouraging young women, through Ocean Gems, to go into marine science.  I also thought about going with them to Ecuador, but decided to wait.  In Ecuador right now, they are seeing some of the largest Manta Rays ever discovered, and they also saw a huge, pregnant whale shark.  I just watched the video on this trip, you can find it at Project Mantas Ecuador.  Amazing.

I must confess to a few tears….do not get me wrong:  Randy’s health comes first, absolutely.  I canceled trips because I had to, and because we have to get Randy back to health before we do anything else.  But still….there is a little part of me feeling sad because I am missing out on trips that I had planned and dreamed about doing.  I realize it doesn’t mean I won’t be able to do them, it just means I cannot do it NOW.  I have always had an awareness of the fragility of life…and I have wanted to travel and take part in the bigger world as a consequence of it.  I know I must do what I want to do while I can still do it.  This is just a setback, I will be back under the water.

Randy and I headed with whale sharks!

Randy and I headed with whale sharks!

Randy may or may not dive again, it is certainly not advisable for at least a couple of years, so he can see how well he does with all of the medication.  For all I know, maybe he will be diving again in a year, 5 years, or never again.  It doesn’t really matter as long as he is healthy and strong.  I am perfectly capable of going off on my own.

And yet, I feel the loss of my dive buddy, my dive partner.  Of course, there are other possibilities now, like mountains, hiking, and more adventures in the USA.  Maybe Alaska!  I will enjoy any of these activities.  I will enjoy sitting in our backyard, playing with our dogs.  My passion and focus remains under the seas….but as I said, I will get back to my ocean and its creatures.  If Randy is doing great in six months, perhaps I will take a live aboard trip.  We’ll see.

The journey of the lung transplant doesn’t only have a major effect on Randy, but on his family and loved ones as well.  I think it is important to be honest about our feelings as we continue down this path.  We all have fears and hopes, and while Randy is at the center of them, we each have our own lives to live.  We just have to go with the flow, there is no way to force the river into any particular path.

One of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck, gives what is sage advice:  “A journey is like marriage.  The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

 

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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

Comments (2)

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  1. Thomas G Murphy says:

    Tam this is so great and am with U everyday. I have always been spiritual but so much deeper after loosing our son. I believe Randy as always the Champion will be on top again. If U need anything just ask. Love Big Murph.

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