Tony Mayo, long time Abbotsford resident, artist, author and teacher recently released his most current publication titled “Twenty-Nine Lives.”
The eBook is an account of 28 occasions during his life where Mayo faced death. Each chapter chronicles a series of events in which he encountered near-death situations, or was involved in events that could have easily led to his demise. After surviving each of those incidents, Mayo felt as if he had been given another chance to live.
From his earliest years, Mayo led an adventurous life. Since 1972, many of his exciting experiences have occurred during various risky travels into some of the most remote parts of 91 countries around the world. Throughout those travels, while studying numerous endangered human cultures, Mayo carefully collected thousands of historically important artifacts. At the same time he painstakingly documented priceless information through slides, photographs, notes, diagrams, tape recordings and videos.
The following is from chapter one of “Twenty-Nine Lives”:
“Looking down the barrel of a Russian-made AKM assault rifle, I contemplated how I might escape. I watched my two Afghan captors carefully. Both were heavily armed, each cradling a rifle. A revolver and large knife hung at their sides and each had an ammunition belt slung over one shoulder. Both men bore heavy battle scars on their hands, arms and faces and one wore a patch over his right eye. They had forced me up a ladder and onto the top of an old, rickety and rusted out bus that was violently rocking back and forth, mercilessly tossing me to and fro as we bounced down a remote mountain road deep in Afghanistan’s notorious Khyber Pass. To avoid being pitched off the roof and into the deep canyon along the edge of the narrow dirt road, I clutched desperately onto the low, loose-fitting railing fastened around the outside edge of the rooftop.
This was not my first close call with death, and at the time I certainly hoped it would not be my last…”
The following is from chapter sixteen of “Twenty-Nine Lives”:
“As our boat followed the coastline about one kilometer out, abruptly, and with little warning, a mighty wind arose, creating big choppy waves that roared toward shore. The young driver was steering the boat so that it ran lengthwise with the waves. My experience in boating told me we should be running crosswise and into the waves, especially considering we were in a flat bottom boat, which could flip over easily in big waves, and the waves were huge. I thought to myself, “The young man driving this boat must know what he’s doing because he takes groups out scuba diving every day. Maybe this boat handles differently than I imagine and is designed to navigate waves such as these.” Those thoughts had just passed through my mind when a large wave hit the boat directly broadside and we instantly flipped upside down! When the boat flipped, it threw all of us, along with our diving equipment into the turbulent Red Sea. All the gear quickly sank to the bottom.
The shape and surface of the boat made it impossible to hold onto; in fact the boat was being tossed around so violently that it was dangerous to stay near. We had no choice but to swim the kilometre to shore. None of us had lifejackets on and I don’t recall that any lifejackets were even available in the boat. It was a difficult swim with massive waves sweeping over and around us. The turbulent churning water seemed to be going in every direction at once as it rolled over us, tossing us dramatically every-which-way so that I sometimes lost all sense of direction and couldn’t determine which way was up. As I was erratically tumbled and turned, saltwater filled my eyes and was forced down my throat and up my nose. At times I surfaced coughing, sputtering and unable to see. The waves were so immense that I caught only brief glimpses of the land or my companions. As I rode those gigantic frothing waves, occasionally I felt as if I were being thrown deep into hell and moments later as if I were being shot straight up into the heavens. Sometimes, when I frantically came up for air after being tumbled and turned under a heavy wave, I couldn’t tell which direction the shoreline was and would get swept under again before my eyes cleared of burning saltwater enough that I could see. Fortunately we were all strong and capable swimmers. Still, it was a miracle, that exhausted and with throbbing arms and aching legs, we all made it to shore. Unfortunately, upon approaching water’s edge, we realized the battle for our lives was not over…”
Before reaching the safety of his camp later that same day, Mr. Mayo would yet endure two additional life-threatening situations. In his most recent publication titled “Twenty-Nine Lives, One Man’s Twenty-Eight Brushes With Death”, you can read about these and his numerous other near death encounters.
The book is available electronically and may be downloaded on your computer, smart phone, Android, tablet or eReader, via all major eBook distributers including Amazon, Barns and Noble, eBooks.com, iBookstore, Kobo and Sony Reader Store (Indigo).
For more photographs, visit tonymayoart.com.