As a repeat guest on your spectacular isle, which I dearly love, I’ve written letters voicing my concerns about the need for improvements in your meeting the needs of the disabled/elderly visitors.
I’m particularly concerned about the disabled, many of whom are in their current physical state, because they served their country in other parts of the world while fighting for freedom for all. Our system is not perfect, but it’s far superior to the regimes others are forced to endure.
But, this is not a diatribe about wars and why we fight them. This is a plea for equal access for the disabled. I have failed back syndrome, a condition which began to manifest itself when I was 13 (I’m now 75) and has gotten progressively worse throughout my life. Add to me all the disabled vets and you end up with a large number of people whose needs are not being met.
What prompted this for me was being rejected by Napali Coast tour boats because of my disability. What it boiled down to was decreased income for them. In order to accommodate my wheelchair, they would need to cut back on their total number of customers for that one cruise by one! Considering what they charge per capita, that’s a proverbial drop in the ocean as far as their annual income is concerned.
I’m not trying to ignore the massive amount of work needing to be done to undo the damage caused by the storm that hit the North Shore several months ago. However, changes that would benefit the disabled could be incorporated into some of that work.
As far as the tour boat situation is concerned, some minor alterations to the boats themselves plus the passenger’s signature on a form absolving the charter company and boat owner of any fault should the disabled passenger suffer any harm as the result of taking the tour should eliminate any concern re: liability.
This trip, scheduled for January 2019, is our 50th wedding anniversary trip. We scheduled it for that particular time so that we could take a Napali Coast/whale watching cruise. That’s our primary reason for scheduling it for the time we selected. But, as things currently stand, the cruise may end up being impossible, and I’m one very disappointed senior.
Mahalo for taking the time to listen to one elderly lady’s concerns. I hope I helped the plight of many disabled visitors to your little piece of paradise.
Midge Swanson is a resident of Saginaw, Michigan.