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Sailing to Argentina

Juan Manuel Ballestero was in Porto Santo when Argentina banned all flights in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Determined to see his 90-year-old father, who lives in Argentina, he set sail from Porto Santo and sailed the 6,129 miles to Argentina in a 9 metre boat in what has been deemed a story of both love and courage, but which left friends worried for his life.

In an interview with The New York Times, the 47-year-old Argentinian said he lived off the contents of dozens of cans of food and wanted to do everything possible to return home quickly, saying, “the most important thing for me was to be with my family.”

Every night, Ballestero listened to the radio to find out how the virus was evolving around the world. “I was always thinking about how this could be my last trip, quarantined within my freedom.” Faith keeps us going in these situations. I learned a lot of things about myself, one of which was humility.”

After sailing for 85 days, Ballestro docked in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on the 17th of June and was met by the press, family and friends. He was finally reunited with his father 72 hours later, having waited for the results of his Covid-19 test, which was of course, negative.

Samantha Gannon

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