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An Argentine Sailor Crossed the Atlantic Solo To See His 90-Year-Old Father During COVID-19

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Misión cumplida! La fe cruza oceanos

A post shared by Juan Manuel Ballestero (@skuanavega) on

In what might be one of the more incredible adventure stories to come out of the ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, an Argentine sailor pulled a move right out of a movie. Juan Manuel Ballestero was docked in Porto Santo, a small Portuguese island off the coast of Africa, when the whole world began shutting down. With his family - and 90-year-old father – back home in Argentina, he felt the need to return to them immediately. Except when international air travel ground to a halt, the only way home was by sailboat.

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The trip across the Atlantic (the long way, mind you) took Ballestero 85 days and proved a true test of character and equipment. His food rations consisted mostly of canned tuna, and he reportedly was reluctant to catch fresh fish because it involved killing the animals he had developed a connection to throughout his solo voyage. About the fish, he told the NY Times that, “I didn’t want to kill one. It felt like killing a person. I used to be a fisherman but after that experience it’s hard for me to kill now.”

Along the way, he was refused entry at the Cape Verde islands, forcing him to sail his next stretch without extra food and fuel. When he finally made it to the coast of Brazil, after taking a beating by waves, he was on the home stretch. Following the urging of his brother, he created an Instagram account to document the final leg of his journey, and the newfound publicity led to a hero’s welcome when he arrived home. On June 17, Ballestero docked in Mar Del Plata, Argentina and was reunited with his family.

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Today is Earth Day, and the world certainly looks different than in years past. We’re not just talking about COVID-19 here, but also the fact that we still have more work than ever to do when it comes to keeping our carbon emissions and our environmental footprint in check. Sure, the Earth might have let out a sigh of relief when now that we’re all being forced to stay inside, but it’s a fantasy to think we’re not headed back to our old ways as soon as we can move freely again. RELATED: