It takes three months to sail from Portugal to Argentina, Juan Manuel Ballestero just found out.
The 47-year-old Argentine made the expedition across the Atlantic when he was unable to fly home to see his parents. When all flights to Argentina were canceled due to the pandemic, he wasn’t going to wait. Ballestero planned the entire trip that would require enduring storms and dangerous waves in a mere 24 hours.
The sailor’s father Carlos Ballestero is 90 years old, while his mother Nilda Gómez is 82 years old.
“I wanted to be with them,” Ballestero told The Associated Press after arriving in his home town of Mar del Plata in mid-June.
Ballestero took the 200 euros he saved up, filled his boat with food and left from Porto Santo. The trip wasn’t easy — arduous storms, heavy winds and waves proved to be dangerous and turbulent. There was a close call when waves knocked over the boat while he was 150 miles from Victoria, Brazil.
However, the experienced sailor, who has been a skipper on oceanographic sailboats, is finally a little bit closer to home, although not quite fully there. Argentina requires him to remain in a 15-day quarantine in the 29-foot sailboat named “Skua” before he can really see his parents. But despite the extra delay, he would still rather be home.
“I’ll plant a garden and buy three chickens. I’ll make it through the winter with the old people,” he told the Associated Press of his less adventurous future plans. “I want to be with the family.”
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