We’ve seen some interesting and unique stories that have come about due to he coronavirus pandemic. Many of them have involved adventures that have kept people close to home during this unusual time. But the story that ExWeb has shared today is of about a globe-spanning adventure that was undertaken so one man could be reunited with his aging father during a time when travel has been restricted and concerns over health have taken center stage.
Juan Manuel Ballestero was living on some small islands off the coast of Portugal when the pandemic lockdown went into effect. Air travel back to Argentina to be with his 90 year old father simply wasn’t an option, but he knew that he still had to find a way to get back home. Fortunately for him, he practically grew up on ships and boats, and is an experience sailor. So rather than wait out the pandemic in Europe, he boarded a ship and set sail across the Atlantic, heading towards Argentina and his elderly dad. On June 17 he completed the 12,000 km (7456 miles) journey, arriving at his destination 86 days after he set sail.
As ExWeb notes, Ballestero is no stranger to the ocean. He first set sail when he was just three years old, but later would earn a living aboard a variety of ships. His career would take him around the world, working in Hawaii, Bali, Costa Rica, and Spain, amongst numerous other places. In 2017, he bought his own 29-foot sailboat with the intention of eventually circumnavigating the globe on a solo adventure. That hadn’t happened yet when COVID-19 began to spread, but fortunately for Juan Manuel, he had the perfect vessel to cross the Atlantic and get him back home to his father.
Despite his confidence at sea, the voyage wasn’t without risks. He was turned away at a port in Cape Verde for fears of spreading the virus and his ship suffered damage from a major wave while approaching the Americas. Early on, he was even shadowed by another vessel, which he feared might be pirates. Fortunately, nothing came of that encounter and he made it to Argentina just a little worse for wear.
Obviously, there is no better way to socially distance than by being at sea for three months. Upon arrival in Argentina, Ballestero was already quarantined for plenty of days. He’s now enjoying some time with his family and will stay there for the foreseeable future. His time at sea must have been some adventure and when he arrived back on land, the world had certainly undergone some big changes. Hopefully, he and his family will stay healthy and safe moving forward.