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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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If you've studied European history, you'll know the name of the 16th century explorer Vasco Nunez De Balboa. Now, five centuries later progressive thought in the America's may cast him as just another one of those old pirates who came to rob native people's, but one modern day Spanish sailor is hoping to create a more positive association for the Balboa name.

If you've studied European history, you'll know the name of the 16th century explorer Vasco Nunez De Balboa. Now progressive through in the America's may cast him as just another one of those old pirates who came to rob native peoples, but one Spanish sailor is hoping to create a more positive association for the Balboa name.

Alvaro de Marichalar is going from US to Panama where he hopes to do as Balboa did in the 1500's - when he became the first European to set foot in the pacific ocean - which is on the Western coast of the Panama isthmus.

That journey is being done world record style - on water scooter and Alvaro arrived in Belize on Sunday - from Havana Cuba. That's a lot of miles - and he did it all standing up. 7news was there to meet him:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
From a speck on the horizon, to a small figure against the Caribbean sea, Alvaro de Marichalar on his sea scooter does not look like a transcontinental explorer, he looks like a tourist out on a jet ski.

But, he's a Navigator and world record holder and 7 news was there to greet him as he zoomed in to the Princess Marina on his vessel.

But he's a traveller who has a unique perspective of his destinations. Alvaro travels around the world, not by plane, and neither by huge vessels nor sail boats. He does it on a water scooter.

Alvaro De Marchalar - Spanish Navigator
"it's my passion for the past 30 years and this is my 12th world record on this kind of sport that I love because it allows me to be in amazing cathedral which is the open sea where I can pray and where I can figure out that we are very weak and that the creation of nature is powerful and we have to respect it and be very humble knowing that we are little creatures."

"I traveled alone, I started in Miami, so the first stage was Key West, and from Key West I cross all the way to Havana; that was 100 nautical miles at open sea, a bit bad condition. Then I went from the coast of Cuba all the way to Cancun; that's 125 nautical miles without seeing any land. It took me 12 hours because it was rough and the current was strong like 6 knots strong current. Thank God I arrived in Cancun. I GPS broke, so I had to navigate with a compass, that was tricky."

"And then from Cancun I went to Tulum and from Tulum I went back all the way yesterday to Belize."

The first thing that jumps out at an observer is how dangerous it must be, which would then lead you to assume that Alvaro is an adrenaline junkie. He says he respects the dangers of his hobby, which is to go continent hopping.

Alvaro De Marchalar - Spanish Navigator
"I get afraid every day all the time. The sea is a savage of nature and the task of this expedition is to fight fear. Of course it's a bit tricky, but I've been doing that for the past 30 years, I am use to it - I love it. Now I am taking risks all the time. Despite that I carry on because I need to be in the blue horizon."

He makes the trek on his 260 horsepower water scooter called "Numancia", with 1,300 cc engine. It looks like any other jet ski, but to him, it's a lifeline in the vast expanse of high seas he travels.

Alvaro De Marchalar - Spanish Navigator
"Numancia stands for this small city which would resist the Romans 20 centuries ago in Spain. Numancia means that they are willing to fight and they are willing to survive against all odds and they are willing to make true your dream."

Which is what he is, a small moving dot in the globe; Alvaro lives the life of a biker where distance is measured in nautical miles and where ocean channels become highways and roadways. But what is the purpose of all of this?

Alvaro De Marchalar - Spanish Navigator
"The purpose is setting a new world record for my country (Spain) and commemorate 500 years of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Vasco Nunez de Balboa who was the first European who saw it from Panama peninsula. We are celebrating as well the 5th centennial the discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon, who was the first European to see the United States of America."

That represents 10 days on the sea, or 500 nautical miles, and he has another 1,500 more to go to get to the end. It's a tough expedition, and the conditions are arduous.

Alvaro De Marchalar - Spanish Navigator
"I travel all the time standing up, it's the only way not to break a spine and I eat when I arrive to ports. I drink when I can stop at land, shower, find gas, food, water and sometimes I sleep aboard my water scooter; I lie down and I sleep like 2-3 hours at open sea."

And if his explanation of why he's taken on this challenge doesn't convince you, he says everyone should be able to understand the significance of reaching goals and overcoming obstacles.

Daniel Ortiz
"There will be those viewers in Belize specifically when they see this they will say wow, a crazy white man, he is doing something that most of us won't even attempt."

Alvaro De Marchalar - Spanish Navigator
"I think anybody can do anything; if they fight for it and if they don't give up. If you don't give up you will make your dreams come true. That's for sure and that's my recommendation to anybody."

As a part of the journey, Marichalar hopes to raise awareness for the organization, End Polio Now.

He is well-known for his trip in 2002 where he crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Italy to US, where ended in New York. That expedition, called Atlantik 2002, gave him the World navigation Record for longest voyage on 2.9 metre boat. He travelled over 10,000 nautical miles in that trip.

International press reports say that he holds 6 different world long distance record. His next stop when he leaves Belize is at Puerto Barrios, Honduras. We'll be posting a link to his web page which will allow you to track his progress.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,392
Marty Offline OP
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He Came, He Saw, He's Gone

Last night, 7News introduced you to the Spanish Navigator, Alvaro de Marichalar, who is in Belize as part of his navigation to Panama in commemoration of the 5th Centennial anniversaries of the European discoveries by Spanish Explorers Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Juan Ponce de Leon.

He's going for another long distance world record by traveling the route of these explorers using only his water scooter. He arrived in Belize on Sunday, and today he headed out to Honduras, after being delayed due to mechanical failures. Before his departure, he spoke to the media about his brief first trip to Belize:

As a part of his expedition, he's trying to raise awareness for the organization, End Polio Now.

Channel 7

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