"What a wonderful experience" Thank you from Markus Strydom MC after Lord Nelson voyage

Markus Strydom is a Lance Sergeant with the Grenadier Guards who was awarded the MC in 2013 for outstanding bravery during his second tour of Afghanistan. Lance Corporal James Ashworth (also Grenadier Guards) serving with him in the same mission on Op Herrick, was awarded a posthumous VC.   Markus leaves the Army at the end of September with a medical discharge because of his injuries.  He will have completed his exams as a Health and Safety Officer prior to setting off for Nova Scotia - so this adventure, to join the last leg of the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson on its round the world voyage, was a well earned adventure. 
Following the return to London of the Lord Nelson on 19th September we received the following messages and photographs from Markus and David Sage.  David, Dougie's uncle, supported Markus on the voyage and his account follows the photograph of Markus's cake.
"Hello and what a wonderful experience!
I'm Markus and I had the pleasure of sailing with David these last couple of weeks and what a wonderful experience it was,although we didn't end up in Iceland like we were supposed too (you know what they say it isn't the destination but the journey that matters). I enjoyed every moment on board from climbing the mast, tying up the sails and even being a galley minion. It was a life changing journey it has given me clarity and direction, and I thank David and the Trust from the bottom of my heart with out you guys it wouldn't be possible.
Markus had his 35th birthday on board on 16th Sept. Breakfast in bed, and a birthday cake.
Picture shows Markus being given his birthday cake by Jess, at 16, the youngest sailor on board:
And from David: 
"Unfortunately we had to abandon going to Iceland as the wind was dead against us and not forecast to change, and there was a tropical storm forecast behind us with 90 mph winds.
As a result, after crossing the Grand Banks we headed due East to the Azores! We had three days there and it was really lovely. The voyage over was a wildlife bonanza with more whales than I thought still existed, dolphins, turtles, flying fish, shooting stars. Yup you name it, we saw it!
Seven of the last nine days were pretty rough coming in from the western approaches and into the channel. Force 6-8 and 3-4 metre waves. I cannot tell you how welcome a static silent bedroom is. The ship was leaping about like a dinghy at times.
We were planning a stop in France or the Channel Islands but in the end with the bad weather we had to abandon that and we finally dropped anchor at 17.00 on the Friday night off Southend. We left with the tide to motor up the Thames at 5.00 the following morning, so the time was a bit tight to say the least, as the sponsors had laid on celebrations etc for our arrival under Tower Bridge at 10.30. Buglers on the bridge itself and a military band on HMS Belfast as we moored alongside."
Pictures taken coming up the Thames past Greenwich and passing through the Thames Barrier."

Greenwich from the Thames