Photo: Spain's Alvaro de Marichalar to Retrace Ponce de Leon Voyage on Jet Ski
Spanish adventurer Alvaro de Marichalar will depart from San Juan for Florida this week on board a jet ski on a journey of 1,624 nautical miles through the Caribbean without any support vessels nearby.
Marichalar told Efe on Monday that the lack of a support ship will not prevent him from heading for St. Augustine, Florida, where he intends to arrive on April 3.
By traversing this specific route, Marichalar is attempting to commemorate the voyage made by Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish governor of Puerto Rico, who on April 3, 1513, arrived on the coast of the future United States, which he named “La Florida.”
“In the end, I wasn’t able to get a support ship,” said Marichalar, after noting that although this causes him some logical apprehension it won’t be the first time that he has crossed the ocean alone on his jet ski.
Marichalar has been in San Juan for about two weeks looking fruitlessly for a support vessel and sponsors, but his lack of success on these tasks did not change his mind about undertaking the jet ski voyage since he trusts in his extensive ocean experience to make the trip successfully.
He said that he can’t wait for Wednesday to arrive so that he can begin the trip.
“The lack of a boat will force me to change the route I had initially thought about, since I will have to navigate to the north of Cuba,” the Spanish sportsman said.
The first leg of the journey, between San Juan and the Dominican Republic, will perhaps be the most complicated due to the maritime conditions in the area.
Marichalar, who already has logged 30,000 nautical miles in 38 ocean crossings, said that he is preparing for a new voyage to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa.