Ten years ago, I was an ultra-fit marathon runner, caver and fell runner. This was all until one evening I went to sleep in my own bed and woke up in hospital to discover that I couldn’t talk, see or move any of my limbs on my left hand side as the result of a stroke.
The world was a confusing place. The ultra-fit outdoor man I once was had gone. The idea that I might one day return to the mountains was lost, as were the adventures that I had long loved for and been driven by.
Today, in the volcanic harbour of El Hierro amidst the landscape life as a geologist had taught me to love. Understanding suddenly flooded. I felt a sense of excitement and a burst of adrenalin as I was fitted with a top spec climbing harness, the former caver in me remembered the old skills and enthusiasm that I had and this enabled me to climb the rigging half way to the crow’s nest on Tenacious.
Although I didn’t make it all the way the support and encouragement of the ships permanent and voyage crew was amazing. I was again the adventurer of old. My body rushed with the tremor of adrenalin that was so vital to the old me before I had the stroke that left me paralysed in both left limbs.
Many years of physiotherapy enabled me to progress to the point that rather than sit static at my desk, I could stand and even attempt the assisted climb of the mast. I’m not disheartened by not reaching the top of the mast. I have been given the chance and enabled to fight my handicap and once again grasp some of the excitement of an active life. Wow!! this was a day which gave me a sense of the excitement of the active life that I thought had gone since my stroke. Thank you Tenacious and my buddy Terry for all your care and for making this possible. I return home with new goals and targets that will seem more realistic than they did before this voyage.
John Hunt, 52, AFT STB, TNS 431