Coronavirus canceled Argentinian man's flight, so he sailed 85 days alone to see his family

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Nothing was about to keep Juan Manuel Ballestero from his family.

The Argentinian man was on the island of Porto Santo in Portugal when the coronavirus outbreak prompted officials to cancel all international flights to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

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But the shutdown sparked a new idea for the 47-year-old: take an 85-day sailboat journey instead.

When Ballestero, an experienced sailor, embarked on the journey alone, it wasn’t without challenges. Cape Verde authorities prevented him from docking his Ohlson 29 boat to refuel and restock on food at one point, forcing him to head West and rely mostly on the wind to move.

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After nearly three months on the water, Ballestero reached his destination at Mar del Plata and documented some of the trip on Instagram.

Before he could reunite with his relatives, however, he had to take a COVID-19 test, which came back negative within 72 hours.

He said that entering the same port where his father’s boat was docked and “where I learned how to sail and where all this originated, gave me the taste of a mission accomplished,” The Times reported.

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His next move? Get back on the water.

“What I lived is a dream,” he told The Times. “But I have a strong desire to keep on sailing.”



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