After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad
For one Argentian man, there really ain’t no mountain high enough.
After the coronavirus pandemic halted international travel, Juan Manuel Ballestero set sail on a three-month-long high seas journey to his see his 90-year-old father, proving not even a novel virus could keep him from his dad.
Ballestero set out to see his father after his home country of Argentina canceled all international passenger flights in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to The New York Times, Ballestero had been on the Portugal island of Porto Santo when Argentina canceled international passenger flights. Still determined to see his father, Ballestero decided to set out on an 85-day sailing voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. All on his own.
“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases,” Juan Manuel said in an interview with The New York Times. “I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”
Ballestero is a veteran sailor and fisherman who has been a lover of water since he was 3 years old.
Still his family expressed that they were nervous about his decision to go his journey alone.
“The uncertainty of not knowing where he was for 50-some days was very rough, but we had no doubt this was going to turn out well,” his father, Carlos Alberto Ballestero said in an interview with The New York Times.
He also documented the trip all while on Instagram.
Though Ballestero made the trip home safe and sound, he did run into a few issues along the way.
Ballestero said that on April 12 authorities in Cape Verde barred him from docking his sailboat so that he could replenish his food supply and refuel his boat. At the time, Ballestero was eating only canned tuna, fruit, and rice. Because of Cape Verde’s denial, he was forced to continue forward with less fuel and rely on winds. What’s more, towards the end of his trip, Ballestero hit choppy waters and was forced to add an additional 10 days to his trip while in Vitória, Brazil.
Despite the complications, Ballestero said he never considered giving up. “I wasn’t afraid, but I did have a lot of uncertainty,” he explained. “It was very strange to sail in the middle of a pandemic with humanity teetering around me… There was no going back.”
Ballestero arrived on June 17 in Mar del Plata.
“Entering my port where my father had his sailboat, where he taught me so many things and where I learned how to sail and where all this originated, gave me the taste of a mission accomplished,” he shared before revealing that he had to take a test for COVID-19 before he could see his family. Fortunately, after 72 hours of waiting for his results, he found out that he was COVID-19-free and able to enter Argentina.
Despite his long trip, Ballestero said that he’s eager to hit the waters again soon.
“What I lived is a dream. But I have a strong desire to keep on sailing.”