Spanish Navigator Celebrates Ponce de Leon’s Voyage With 18-Hour Journey


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The name Alvaro De Marichalar might sound a little familiar to The Watercraft Journal regulars, as he recreated Balboa’s journey From Miami to Panama Canal. Recently, he completed a solo 8,000-nautical mile journey on a heavily-modified Sea-Doo RXT. With six extra gas tanks strapped onto the back he was able to travel 150-nautical miles per tank. Along with him he carried a GPS, compass, flares and radio in case he need to call for help. With no extra room onboard it left him to cook on land but he was able to kick back and rest his legs above the handlebars if needed.

One of Marichalar’s best memories was arriving in St. Augustine on April 2, exactly 500 years ago when Ponce De Leon did. His travels weren’t always easy, with currents so strong especially in the Gulf of Mexico, in some places Marichalar would be applying full throttle and be going no where.

As with any long endurance ride, the chance of having a mechanical failure increases. When Marichalar’s vessel broke down he was about 2 miles away from a remote, small fishing village. With the strong winds pushing him ashore he met some of the village kids playing. They viewed him as a man with a goal and took him in. Their families showed unconditional support and wished him the best for the rest of his long journey ahead. Marichalar states, “We will remain friends forever.”

Some of Marichalar’s best memories are meeting the local people, learning their way of living and giving motivational speeches to them about achieving their goals and not letting things defer their dreams. He was able to visit 28 different countries, meet hundreds of people and create thousands of memories.

Marichalar has been able to achieve many of his life goals and continues to set new ones. While many of your goals may not be to ride 1500-nautical miles, the time to start achieving your goals is now. Marichalar has plans in 2018 to attempt another world-record ride that will take him on a tour of the world following the commemoration of the 5th Centennial of the World’s First Circumnavigation by Portuguese Explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

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Blake Ellestad

Blake Ellestad

Blake decided to buy a jet ski before a car and it was the greatest decision of his life. He was able to start reading on the forums and absolutely fell in love with the information and the sport. Blake says he will be riding jet skis for a very long time.

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