+27 (0)82 4000 470 rob@robcaskie.com
As we prepare to leave Crystal Symphony in Vancouver, it is difficult to believe how quickly these two months have flown by. It has exceeded expectations on almost every level.
The cherry on top was a Humpback Whale on the surface with her calf, very close to the ship during Karen’s early morning deck walk yesterday. The highlight for us has been the superlative staff onboard, many of whom we have got to know well.
Wonderful to see how many South African service staff are present, flying the country’s flag high. The encouragement of all during my slow recovery process has been humbling. They have seen me progress from wheelchair to walker, then two crutches and now hiking sticks. Often I am walking sans sticks, albeit with a strong limp.

Patience is a virtue, one I am not blessed with abundantly. This injury and recovery has taught me much about patience, and how so many things in life cannot be rushed.
Accepting assistance from so many wonderful people, almost all of them strangers, has been a humbling experience. Struggling daily with pain and immobility makes appreciating the blessings difficult at times. As time progresses, I realise how fortunate I am to live, and not to have damaged my head, my neck or my spine. It appears that the nerves and ligaments in my left leg are okay, and my ribs and lungs seem to have mended well.
I will never take walking for granted again.
Watching people, young and old, walking around on two good legs reminds me daily of just how important locomotion is to all of us. “Wheelchair friendly” takes on a whole new dimension. For those unfamiliar with wheelchairs, including ourselves, the smallest ridge often stops the front wheels with near disastrous consequences for the chair’s occupant. There have been a number of occasions when I have almost gone over the guardrails on the ship, or ended up on an Alaskan sidewalk. Thankfully every instance has been hilarious. A great reminder too that drivers need to consider occupants of their vehicles carefully – feeling out of control can be very uncomfortable.

Karen has been a Trojan from Day1. Her care and dedication during this very difficult time of our lives has been overwhelming. Karen has loved this time onboard, and I would be lost without her by my side.
Giving talks seated concentrates one’s efforts, despite my being far removed from Morgan Freeman’s stillness in Shawshank Redemption! One day, I sat quietly and shared the extraordinary story of Harry Wolhuter killing a lion with a knife. The response to that storytelling has been fantastic, proving the power of the spoken word.

The 5th of May was a life-changing day in our lives, after an awesome motorcycling trip with 11 friends through the Eastern Cape, and we are not sure what the new normal will be with my left leg, but all indications are positive.
Life is great.

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