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Chronic Illness: Feeling Low?

22 September 2017

HI folks. If you are like me, you probably have terrible bouts of loneliness and depression. Not fun. But the good news is that there is always something worth smiling about and worth looking forward to. But we just have to remember, right? That's the tough part.

So hopefully this short video will be encouraging and so will these quotes I have found for you tonight.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.








xo Joy

Accessible: Jury Duty (Live Update)

05 September 2017


Ahh jury duty. Everyone's favorite pastime but actually a great honor and civic responsibility. If I ever was on trial, I would certainly want a jury of my peers.

So guys, today I am at jury duty. Whoop whoop! I thought I would try to provide updates throughout the day. Hopefully my hands and arms can keep up, lol. No voice dictation here.

So, parking:
I arrived at 7:40 at the Ventura court house for my 8:00 summons. Already the number of cars was hard to count and the line of jurors walking to the court house was loooong. And this was what I assumed to be a quiet day with only groups 1-2 called.

In section A,the first lot you come to, there were 4 (?) accessible parking spots near the walkway. I believe 2 were already filled and I took the 3rd spot. Pulling out my trusty walker I made the walk to the entrance (not too terrible) and arrived at security...

Security:
What lovely officers!
The first one took my purse for me so I didn't have to deal with putting it in the "dog bowl" 😄. The other waved me through the metal detector and joked cheerfully about me setting it off due to my walker. So kind they are and a great first impression of the courthouse. I didn't have to take off my hand braces or get my walker patted down which would have been an ordeal and holdup for others.

13:00 the afternoon female officer at the rear entrance -- not so friendly, quite curt in fact.

Check-in:
Ah yes. The longest queue of the day. I was so grateful for my walker and its seat! If you cannot stand for long periods of time or question whether you can handle the long walks, please do yourself a favor and bring your walker or wheelchair!

The two ladies I met at checkin were polar opposites. The first was cheerful and bright. The second was tired and sounded frustrated because she had to keep telling people how to scam the summons card.
The hallway and the center aisle leading to check in were both accessible and I easily could move my walker through the space.

the Wait:
It is 10:12 right now and we are on morning break. Oh gosh, i am so tired! And wanna curl up for a nap but perhaps my neighbors might disagree hehe. There are two sections of seats in the jury assembly room and the first rows in each section are accessible with five seats each.

So far one group of jurors have been called. Only 49 cases today so hopefully quiet and fast. Fingers crossed.

Let's chat about the chairs. They are surprisingly comfortable. I had brought my lumbar support but might not be necessary. They have arm rests and chairs sink back ever so slightly.

Accessibility at Jury Duty:

You might be wondering why I am here with all my ailments. Frankly I believe in my civic duty, was excited to have a change of scenery, and although my arms are on fire without my ice packs and I am counting down the minutes till I can take my Tramadol I believe this is my chance to do something good for my community instead of always sitting around and going to the Doctor.

10:38 - down to 32 cases.

In addition to myself, I have seen one lady of advanced age with a cane and she was able I guess to find a seat in one of the other rows.

The exciting bit was that the judge who gave our introduction, the Honorable Judge Ayers, had with her Willow, a service dog in training! What a great sight and sense of normality it provides. Two thumbs up for Judge Ayers.

It is 11:12 and not much has happened. Silence. The walker is very helpful for stretching out my legs and not sitting at a 90 degree angle.

11:27 - gave in and took my medicine, waited as long as my body would let me. 😆 when I was walking the halls to stretch my legs and get a water from the vending machine, I was impressed with the accessible notice re the rivalving doors.

Usually just wheelchairs and strollers are mentioned, bravo Ventura Superior Court!

Lunch should be announced soon. Until, let's mention the interesting attire.

Attire:
The summons says to wear business casual. So I find it very interesting when I see folks in jeans, cargo pants, t-shirts, sweatpants and track pants. Times have definitely changed.

Photo: one in track pants and another in slacks.

Cafeteria:

12:42 - I have discovered the "unofficial jury nap area". Hehe.

In the cafeteria there is a group of 4 armchairs and 2 love seats With a sign requesting feet off furniture. Once again my walker came in handy so I could stretch my legs and get a 1/2 hour of shuteye. Nice.

Also, apparently the wifi in the cafe is stronger than the jury assembly room. The wifi is courtesy of TWC and allows guests 1 free hour of wifi.

12:51 //Thoughts// lunch is almost over. Wonder if there will be any more cases needing jurors. Been awful quiet so far...

13:15 jurors have been summoned... #suspense

15:07 I was called! Would have been 2-3 day trial but while jurors were in hallway it was settled. 👍🏼 so I am back in jury assembly room with 13 cases remaining... And surprise! Found a jury duty buddy among those called upstairs.

VLOG: DBPower EX5000 Review

21 August 2017

Hi guys! Happy Solar Eclipse Day!
Hope everyone was being safe with their eyes. :D

Just wanted to share a quick review of DBPower EX5000 that Amazon is currently selling... Enjoy!
until next time! so many reviews and posts to do but so little energy and strength... coming soon tho!


Vlog: How I Have Fun

13 August 2017

Hi guys! Pardon but being in the emergency room on Wednesday and dealing with a bad health weekend meant I haven't had time or the energy to post my latest YouTube video... Many people have asked how I am able to have fun and yet can't do normal daily duties such as my dissertation, work, etc...

Trust me, I would love to do those "normal" daily duties but unfortunately not possible right now.... So if you are curious please check out my latest video.


Best wishes for everyone's health and happiness xo

Come Support LIFE ANIMAL RESCUE!

09 August 2017

Remember my recent VLOG about Life Animal Rescue? Well now is your chance (if you live locally) to support this great non-profit while at the same time filling your bellies with yummy pizza, salad, bread and wine. <3
If you live near Westlake Village, California, please print this flyer and bring it in on either the 16th or 17th of August so that 20% of your bill will go to help Life Animal Rescue!! Thanks so much for Hastings Alyosha and Me!




xo

Vlog: Health Update

07 August 2017

Hi Guys!
I'm back from Cedar Sinai (went for my 2nd consultation on Thursday last week) and what a headache trying to figure it all out and make my next move... :o

If you fancy a quick update, check out my latest VLOG below and do say hi!


My best wishes are with you all who are struggling with autoimmune diseases and Fibromyalgia and those of us who are still not convinced we've got the right diagnosis. <3


Vlog: Hastings and LIFE ANIMAL RESCUE

Hi Guys!
Been ages, I know, but what a crazy health month (more about that in my next post)...
BUT... I had a chance to film a short vlog this weekend featuring my wonderful Captain Hastings Alyosha and to brag about the great ladies at Life Animal Rescue in Agoura Hills/Westlake, California. So take a peek, please, subscribe, and say hi!
Enjoy!! <3
6 months later!! :)
Last but not least... if you have a strong stomach and want to see a little of what Captain Hastings Alyosha looked like right after being rescued, visit this video...
Until Next Time...

Dodgers: Wheelchair Royalty

14 July 2017

Hi guys!
Hope everyone is having a great 1st half of July so far. Can you believe how quickly this summer/year has gone by? Unfortunately do to the heat and my health, I was not able to post this review last week as I would have liked to but boy are you guys in for a treat now so pull up a chair and lets chat about the fabulous and I do mean fabulous royal treatment accessible patrons receive at the LA Dodgers Stadium!

Buying Tickets:
If you are buying accessible seating at the Dodger Stadium for the first time, please go online to ADA Tickets where you can select which game you want to attend and a standard ticketing "select your seats" page will pop up. Make sure you can see the warning in red about this being for ADA accessible seating! Once all is confirmed, you will have a handful of seating options from around the field (with the majority of the seats being in Loge Box level). Each accessible guest of the Dodgers may choose to sit with family/friends in the accessible seating area but please be mindful that there are only 4 seats in each "box" and seats are limited, especially in the cheaper top deck options.


Navigating the Field/Parking Lot:
Once we arrived at the Dodgers Stadium, my friend and I asked the friendly parking attendant if there was a spot for handicap parking and he said to show our placard to the attendant who would be guiding us as to where to park and they'd help us out. Sure enough, he saw our placard, asked where our seats were (so thoughtful! even I hadn't thought of that as being necessary) and guided us to the front row of the closest section meaning the least amount of walking needed. Thank you friendly Dodgers Stadium parking attendants!

After proceeding to the main entrance, I was amazed by the great service from start to finish. A lady employee spotted me in my wheelchair and told my friend and me to use the first set of metal detectors as that would be easier and what do you know? Within less than a minute (no joke!) a female security guard was there smiling and ready to pat me down so I could move right into the park without further hassle. Incredible service and such friendly attendants! You'll see this is a common trend.
For those sitting in the Loge section, you are directed to go directly behind home plate where you'll find a hallway with ADA elevators and a few staff members on hand to help out. The first time we walked right by it (Oops!) but never fear the signage is excellent and employees are eager to help out when asked questions. We had a decent wait since there were only 2 ADA elevators and both in constant use. But that is no big deal since you'll find yourself smack dab in the art and collectible store with vintage photographs and paintings of all your favorite Dodgers moments so that was a nice treat while waiting.

After the elevator arrives, a smiling attendant asks where you are going to and pushes the button before presto! the elevator is moving on its merry way. Old school service! Very nice. We were quickly let off on the Loge Box level and found our seats immediately, thanks to the help of the friendly EMT team.

More specifics from the website are below:
Accessible ParkingThe accessible parking spaces required by law are located in parking lots B, D, G, L, N, & P and are reserved for those properly holding and using a valid, state-issued disabled parking placard or license plate, whether or not the drivers have paid for preferred parking in any of those lots. Parking cashiers and attendants are happy to direct drivers of eligible vehicles to these areas. Accessible parking stalls are available on a first-come and first-served basis. Once full, fans will be directed to the nearest lot where regular parking stalls are still available. 
The Los Angeles Dodgers offer a courtesy ADA shuttle that is reserved for our guests with disabilities. This ADA shuttle operates from the various parking lots to the areas near the entry gates. In order to arrange for this service once you have parked, you may call the Dodger Hotline at (323) 224-2611 to have the shuttle dispatched to your location. 
Shuttle/Golf Cart ServicesThe Los Angeles Dodgers offer a courtesy ADA shuttle that is reserved for our guests with disabilities. This ADA shuttle operates from the various parking lots to the areas near the entry gates. In order to arrange for this service once you have parked, you may call the Dodger Hotline at (323) 224-2611 to have the shuttle dispatched to your location.

The Boxes:
The boxes are setup with 4 movable chairs (forward to sideways) meaning you can EASILY slide a wheelchair into place without much hassle.
And the best part for me is the ample and i do mean AMPLE leg room for stretching out my legs.
The only negative about the seats, if any, has to be the overhang that can get in the way of your view. I had originally wanted to get Friday Fireworks tickets but my friend wisely pointed out that the view would have been obscured by the overhang. Personally from our seats in 139LG, the American flag and the top portions of the jumbo-trons were partially obscured and the mini television screens above the wheelchair seating only showcased the live television broadcast.

All in all, I was really impressed with the fabulous guest service at the LA Dodgers Stadium and the ample seating space for their accessible patrons. If you are eager to catch a sporting game this summer, I would 500% recommend checking out the LA Dodgers!

For those who are interested in service animals, assistive listening devices and wheelchair assistance, see below:
Hearing and Visually ImpairedAssistive listening devices for fans with hearing and/or visual impairments are available for checkout at any Fan Services Station. 
Service AnimalsService animals are welcome in all public areas of the stadium where the guest using the service animal may go. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler at all times. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal´s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler´s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means). Guests with service animals are responsible for cleaning up after their animals and for their appropriate behavior toward other guests and Dodger personnel at all times. A failure to do may result in the animal's removal from the stadium. The Dodgers are not responsible in any way for the care or supervision of a service animal. 
Wheelchair AssistanceWheelchair and Accessible seating can be purchased by calling the Dodgers' ticket office at 866-DODGERS or online at www.dodgers.com. Guest using wheelchairs (or other mobility devices) who prefer to sit in non-accessible seating may check in and store their wheelchair or other mobility device by bringing them to designated areas on the Left and Right Field plazas on Field level, adjacent to the Fan Services Stations, or behind home plate on all other levels.   
Escorts for those using wheelchairs are available inside the stadium from any gate on a first-come, first served basis by contacting any security personnel or ticket taker.
Guest who use other mobility devices such as Segways are provided escorts to their seats and storage for their devices in the same locations as the wheelchairs. Electric scooters can be accommodated in ADA seating areas or stored in the same manner and in the same locations as the wheelchairs.

I hope you enjoyed this review and are looking forward to enjoying your own royal treatment care of the great customer service at the LA Dodgers' Stadium.

Disclaimer: I received my tickets for review purposes but all opinions and photographs are my own.

Vlog 002: A day at the doctor's

08 July 2017

Follow along as I visit my new Osteopath (Centers for Family Health) and get a ride home with the incredible Ventura Transit Service! Hope you'll enjoy my new foray into the Vlogging world as I give my fingers/hands a rest.

x Joy

Kingsmen Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost

05 July 2017

Under the direction of Kevin P. Kern, Kingsmen Shakespeare Company's production of the oft not performed Shakespearean play, Love's Labour's Lost, is a hoot! The ensemble cast, boasting many talented members of the Actors' Equity Association, works well together as they sing, dance (hilariously - and not to be spoiled! - choreographed by Jeff Wallach), snog, grope, exude pathos and come together in this hilarious romp of a comedy by the Bard himself.
Even if you have never seen this earlier comedy by Shakespeare you will surely pick up on key themes that made their way into his later and better known plays such as Twelfth Night and Midsummer's Night Dream. And never fret, if you find yourself drowning in Elizabethan English, Kern expertly uses side splitting comedy, campy sequences, and hilarious dance routines (again, not to be spoiled!) to draw the audience in and even breaks the fourth wall inviting audience participation.
The ensemble cast (whom you will also see in John Slade's later production of Julius Caesar) are all Aces! The stand-outs have to be Louis Jerry Kernion (as the comedic Costard) who had me holding my side from laughing so much, Samantha Eggers & Ross Hellwig as the stunning Princess and her adoring Ferdinand, Todd Lanker as the lovelorn Berowne who makes use of some of the best lines in the play, and Jason D. Rennie & Thuy Duong as the ridiculous Armando and his page, Moth.

The story is set pre-World War I with gorgeous costumes by Howard Schmitt and fantasy-esque sets by Brian Reed.

For those of you who have never been to a Kingsmen Shakespeare Company production, you are in for a treat. The professional cast and crew have certainly worked hard to bring us not one but two productions this summer (the comedy Love's Labour's Lost and the history Julius Caesar). Most performers from this month's comedy will also be featured in the second production opening on 21 July.
Seating:
There are lawn boxes (room for 4-6 adults) available for purchase meaning you'll have front and center seating ($90-110).
For the general public, individual tickets can be purchased on the night of the performance for $20 per person (minors under 18 are FREE).

Everyone is responsible for their own chairs and/or blankets. Low chairs are required for the majority of the lawn boxes and all chair sizes are allowed in the general public seating behind the boxes.

As someone who was in the rear of the general public seating, I could see perfectly well, heard all the actors nice and clearly (I am thinking they might be mic'd) and enjoyed being in the open night air watching some Shakespeare come to life.

Coming Early is Highly Recommended:
The park opens at 5:30pm to the public. I would suggest doing as my friend and I did in preparing or buying some dinner en route that you can enjoy at the festival prior to the show beginning. There is a pre-show presentation (approx. 6:45pm/7:00pm) that might help anyone who is not familiar with the material in grasping an idea of what you are about to see!

Accessibility:
I took my walker to the show on 1 July (Saturday) and felt completely comfortable and safe traipsing over the lawn and to and from the parking lot. The website mentions a "hill" that was a bit scary when I read it but thankfully I think it is nothing to dread or be worried about! For those who want to be in the lawn boxes, there are several boxes ($90 each) that allow regular sized chairs for accessible patrons.

And last but not least there are plenty of handicap parking spaces up front of the parking lot and a concrete walk way that leads straight to the entrance of the festival!

Age Appropriate:
I lost count of the number of references to the male anatomy. While there is no sex, violence and language a contemporary audience would find astonishing, there were definitely a great number of sexual jokes and innuendos and Kern made sure to emphasize those jokes with physical props. I imagine those jokes and references might even go over the heads of the young people in the audience but for families it is probably wise to be prepared should your son or daughter ask about a certain character's sword or why a woman's mark "should have a prick in't, to mete at, if it may be", etc.

Location (Free Parking):
California Lutheran University
60 West Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Directions from 101-South
Exit Lynn Road
Left on Lynn Road
Continue onto Olsen Road
Right on MountClef Blvd.
Parking is in the first lot on the right.

Directions from 101-North
Take Exit 16 for CA-23 North
Exit Sunset Hills Blvd.
Left on Sunset Hills Blvd
Left on Olsen Road
Left on MountClef Blvd.
Parking is in the first lot on the right.

Dates:
Love's Labour's Lost continues... 7/7-9, 7/14/16
Julius Caesar plays... 7/21-23, 7/28/30, and 8/4-6
All performances start at 8pm

Disclaimer: My tickets were complimentary in exchange for a review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Disney Drama Continues!

01 July 2017

After my latest post yesterday about my discrimination by Disney Public Relations because of my disability, I wanted to give Disney Public Relations a chance to respond. Only fair, right?

Here is the e-mail I sent them:
Hi DLR Team,
Ever since ... accepted my media request in 2015 to review the holiday experience on my Vlog, I have had 3 denials from Disney in the last 8 months to review the disability accessibility experience on my blog and I kept asking for a reason but received no reply. I also received no replies to the emails I sent asking for details about accessibility. As a huge fan of Disney I hate to think I am being denied because Disney is anti-disability but what other reason should I imagine when I am receiving no information from your team and my queries continue to not be answered.
Please see my latest Disney post:
http://www.thejoyousliving.com/2017/06/is-disneyland-anti-disability.html
Maybe this is something your team should be aware of. Perhaps it is an unintentional slight? As I said, I hate to think anything bad of Disney but what else am I left to think?
And here is the response I received from a Director of Public Relations:
Thank you for your interest in the Disneyland Resort, and the inquiry about the guest accessibility in the parks.

We are happy to share the following information, which is available to our guests and the public. It’s at Disneyland.com, on this link.
https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/guests-with-disabilities/
Thank you! 
I was shocked and very disappointed when I received this e-mail a few minutes after sending my earlier e-mail. I had explained my "case" and asked for an explanation that would discredit my earlier assumptions. But all I got back from this Director of Public Relations was a form letter. 

Thanks a lot, Disney. :(

Is Disneyland Anti-Disability?

30 June 2017

Interesting...
Memorial Day at Disneyland (2013).
Those of you who followed my short lived Vlog might remember my review of the beautiful Disneyland winter holidays experience in 2015 thanks to the Disney Public Relations Team.  Fast forward a year and a half and I have submitted three requests to Disney to review Disneyland's accessibility for walkers, wheelchairs and those of us who have troubles with standing long due to auto-immune diseases such as Fibromyalgia. Each time I have been denied without explanation. I have replied immediately asking for an explanation but alas those replies have been ignored by Disney's Public Relation Team.

So, it got me thinking that perhaps Disney has something against the disabled and that was why I was denied. Why else would I be denied after being accepted just a year earlier with practically the same statistics (and walking)?
Dapper Day 2013.
You wouldn't think so with the Mouse's dedication to making Disneyland "The Happiest Place on Earth" (for everyone). However, stranger things have happened. I performed numerous internet searches over the last year and a half that I have been trying to get approved by the PR team. Personally my research interest has changed as my disabilities have changed: from 'simply' having Fibromyalgia and not being able to stand for long periods of time in queues to needing to use a walker to needing to use a wheelchair.

When I was researching how best to get around Disneyland with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I found several message board postings on the topic and several blog posts about the Disability Access Service Card. But there was NOTHING on Disneyland's website about either disease or any similar diseases. And lets not forget all the lawsuits Disney faces over their treatment of Autistic children.

When I was researching how best to get around Disneyland with a walker, I found fewer message board postings and no blog posts on the topic. And the only thing a search on their website for "walker" brings up is: FAQ: Permitted Items. Ouch! I even emailed Disney Public Relations to ask about how guests with walkers are supposed to get around and if there were limitations on what attractions they could go on, etc. Guess what? I NEVER heard back from Disney. And this was an email I sent twice!

Finally, when I needed my wheelchair, I did another search online. On Disneyland's website, I searched their Services For Guests With Mobility Disabilities page (under Guest Services) and found only information on which rides were accessible and by which means (i.e. ambulatory, transfer from wheelchair/ECV or wheelchair/ECV accessible) and details on the disabled parking options at the resort. But what about information on restaurant seating availability, parade/fireworks watching areas, etc.?

A Google search led me to even more confusing reviews... One blog (10 down on the first page of results) briefly mentioned the Access Service Card, guide maps and the attraction access categories. Another lady (#4 down on the first page) briefly covered the details found on Disneyland's website and offered four tips for Disneyland Resort hotels but that was all. And lastly, on TripAdvisor there were two reviews from 2012 and 2013. The 2012 reviewer was helpful in describing how hard it is for wheelchair users to navigate the queues at California Adventure without banging into the chain ropes. She also explained the craziness at Splash Mountain where single riders were picked before disabled guests which was interesting and good to know! The 2013 reviewer was short and to the point saying that the parks were "not set up very well for wheelchair bound persons."

An interesting article on TIME's website entitled "Does Disneyland Discriminate Against the Disabled?" caught my attention. A lady who needed a Segway vs a wheelchair/ECV was denied by Disney and her case made its way to the federal appeals court.

Ariel's Grotto, 2013.
So what now? After 3 requests for tickets to review Disneyland's accessibility being rejected for no given reason, several e-mails requesting information about guests using walkers/canes, guests who cannot stand for long lengths of time in queues (eg. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Cervical Stenosis) and guests with wheelchairs not being answered, I have to wonder does Disneyland have something against the disabled community? And as a last point, when was the last time you saw a cast member at Disneyland or Walt Disney World using a wheelchair or walker? Yes, there was the lady in a wheelchair who was part of the Aladdin stage show. But what about cast members working restaurants, retail shops and/or attractions?

I hope this is just a random experience and everyone else who has requested tickets and/or asked questions about disabilities has been accepted and received responses. If I ever can make it to the parks with my disabilities, I will be sure to let you guys know how it goes! Until then, 

Shame on You, Twitter!

28 June 2017

In a country where we have "freedom of speech", Twitter has chosen that they gets to decide which ideologies they want to support and promote.

For those of you who are not sure what "Freedom of Speech" means, according to Wikipedia:
Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship.

Twitter's mission statement:
To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

Recently, Live Action (a pro-life organization) wanted to pay Twitter to run an ad and were denied, calling them "offensive" and "Inflammatory" and told them they needed to delete their tweets!


See what Lila Rose had to say to Fox News' Tucker Carlson:


No matter your view points, you have to agree to Freedom of Speech is one of our fundamental rights as Americans. And when companies like Twitter violate that freedom by choosing sides (Hillary Clinton vs. WikiLeaks and now Live Action vs. Planned Parenthood) they are crossing a slippery and dangerous line!!

Best,

Island Packers: Whale Watching (PICTURES)

27 June 2017


Hi guys!
I'm back with a HUGE post of photos from my incredible whale watching tour courtesy of Island Packers.

We've covered the logistics, their fabulous accessibility accommodations onboard and now lets look at the gorgeous marine life and the beautiful Pacific Ocean that you'll be seeing on your own whale watching tour!

Because there are so many photos, please continue here...

Whale Watching: Accessible Review

25 June 2017

Ladies and gents, have I got a treat for you! Last Sunday, I had the privilege of going out on Island Packers' 65' power catamaran for some once in a lifetime whale watching.

Being that I am currently using a wheelchair when getting around, I did some digging around online but alas there was zilch to be found about other people's accessible experiences whether with Island Packers or their competitor, Condor Express.

And I am very happy to share that the experience with Island Packers was A class from start to finish!

Upon arrival, at the Ventura harbor, we found ample handicap parking on either side of the Island Packers' facilities (even after several other boats had set sail earlier that day). Making our way inside, we were greeted by a colorful and welcoming gift shop well stocked with hats, clothing, and trinkets and a main desk where travelers could check in for their day's adventure.

At the main desk, the young lady (Leah) who helped us immediately noticed my wheelchair and told us that she would radio the crew and let them know so they could let me onboard early. How nice! I had not expected such a helpful bit of kindness but it would definitely be very much welcomed.

Later while my dad and I were enjoying the view and waiting for boarding to start, the same young lady approached us and introduced us to the volunteer who was at the front of the queue. Again, such great and attentive service!!

A short while later, the volunteer beckoned us forth, introduced us to a kind gentleman from the crew and we were soon wheeling down the gangway. **Advisement: The gangway is wheelchair accessible but still can be quite tricky and steep so it would be best to have a companion assist you slowly down the ramp. The volunteers and crew were at all times very accommodating and offering their assistance too.**

Once we had made our way to the beautiful catamaran, Island Explorer, we met a couple members of the crew, Andrea and Captain Lee, who were very accommodating and friendly helping me get onboard and recommending where best to sit for the journey. They suggested I sit outside on one of the stern's middle benches for the best view of the water and marine life. There are also inside seating that might be preferable for some with coverage from the elements but I noticed those indoor views were often obstructed by people standing on the sides of the boat.

So if you are like me and will not be able to maneuver around the boat with the majority of the day guests, I would happily suggest sitting on one of the benches and letting a crew member tie up your wheelchair (or walker) on the railings.

The benches can be unforgiving and if you aren't able to get up and stretch, I'd suggest bringing a seating pad and/or lumbar support pad.

And it is helpful that the two washrooms (one is wheelchair accessible) are just feet away from the bench.



Again, I cannot recommend Island Packers' whale watching tours and their excellent crew and volunteers enough! Everyone was so helpful getting me on and off the boat and I was grateful to a couple of their naturalist volunteers who made a point of coming up to me and pointing out different things I could see from the boat's stern.

I tried reaching out to their Santa Barbara competitor, Condor Express, about their accessibility but have only had stealth silence so I cannot even think of them as a competitor.

If you are looking for an accessible whale watching tour out of Southern California, Island Packers gets two huge thumbs up!!

For more specifics about Island Packers' whale watching tours, check out my previous post here.

Photos from my tour will be coming soon!!

Until then, Joy x

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Cherryl and Island Packers for the complimentary tickets. All photos and opinions are my own.
 

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