Letter of the Navigator to the navigators
On behalf of the support team and myself, I wrote this simple letter to all of you internet users, navigators of life, of the sea, of dreams...
I wrote these lines after I had spoken with my admired friend Miguel de la Quadra Salcedo. We met last time after the horrible events on 23.01.2002. At the beginning of our conversation he told me (referring to the attacks in the US):"The world has made an unfortunate turn. This world has changed, making it look unreal and insecure. But are you still going along with this project?, and my response was affirmative; "of course Miguel", I answered. His immediate reaction filled me, once again, with power and emotion: " I am very happy Alvaro, these initiatives that are born from amibition, are very positive for our youths, and the rest of us. Keep it going!
Since 1993, when I first asked him for advice to carry out the first of my great maritime adventure, from then on Miguel has always been there for me. The first challenge was to navigate in solitary (without a supporting ship), from Seville to Genoa (Italy). It was a success and we achieved a new record for Spanish navigation. His advice, wisdom and power, always given from the nobleness of his mind and spirit, have been a source of energy in all my voyages. For that reason, Miguel presides over the committee of our Atlantic voyage, which constitutes a high honour for me and all those who are trying to make it become real. Thank you Miguel!
Our adventure will begin in Rome. The objective is to cross the Atlantic Ocean on board of a small craft of two and a half meters' size. Probably the smallest transatlantic ship. It will be the first time in history that someone tries to cross the ocean in a jet ski. Succeed, would mean a new world record.
For me it has been a dream since I began navigating in this type of craft in 1982. My first experience with this type of "embarkation" was in America, at the age of twenty. I soon felt that it would become my great passion and favourite sport. The first experiences started with going round a small island. I had the sensation of total complicity and symbiosis with the sea. The water sparkled on me. I didn't sail the sea...it was the sea that drove me. From that moment I dreamed to, one day, cross the Atlantic in a similar craft! For twenty years I have been trying to learn from the sea.I navigated much, alone with the horizon as a witness and the wind as a companion. I had the luck to live wonderful experiences; unique in their intensity and beauty. I have also been able to feel the fear, the anguish and horror of tragedy. Three years ago now, a dramatic accident, more terrible than one could ever imagine, turned off my natural happiness to live during many months. I believed that I would never navigate again. Neither in the Sea, nor in Life... Despair and frustration followed me for a long time. There were months of hard pain. Endless days of total solitude in front of the Cantabrian horizon where no more tears could help me with my essence...
But finally, with the help of God, a ray of hope came over me. The heart felt advice of my good friends (Kitin, Almudena, Javier, Fernando...) contributed to it. In a cold night, I was able to navigate again. I crossed from Ibiza to Mallorca. Alone, facing the sea and my fears. Since then, I have attempted to revive my drive. I know it will never come back to it's fullest but the challenge of crossing the Atlantic will help me fill the void in my heart. This challenge has given me back a lot of hope, courage, strength and belief in myself.
It has been many years of dreaming, preparation and learning. Now as I am writing these lines, I fear the threats awaiting me. I will navigate alone. During sixty days and always on my feet not to injure my spine at an average of fourteen hours a day... The support ship will follow me from a distance. From Rome to South Morocco, I practically wont see the support ship. I will coast alone, refuelling and eating in ports. Between Morocco and Barbados I will navigate near the nurse. I will feel absolute solitude. I will meditate in God's creations. I will be able to see the Creator's look in the line of the infinite horizon. I will face storms; the winds will roar without pity and tire me. I will fall off my craft many times. I will get up time after time...The cold water will freeze my body. Half of the time will be spent in the night; seven hours a day in front of the stars. Coasting lighthouses will be a goal. I will come across ships of all types. I will approach the fishermen to converse with them, so that they may transmit to me all their powers and wisdom. I will fear or relax when I see the whales, turtles, tunas, jellyfishes, sharks, flying fish, and dolphins... I will concentrate on my route, try to make no mistake and preserve the drive that moves me. I will face a thousand dangers and surprises that I cannot prepare for. The intense cold that will test my drive and will demoralise me. But I trust in that ray of hope that helped me once before.
It is not only an important adventure for me, but for all the people supporting me from so many different fronts. A new record for Spanish navigation will be attempted. There are many people that believe in its feasibility and are constantly contributing with their positive energy. We know some people have not appreciated our initiative. They have the wrong idea about the goals of this challenge. In this case, like in many others, they ignore the truth and they are not interested in knowing it. They have a preconceived opinion, and they fear to recognize they may be making a possible mistake. They are allowed to think differently. They don't want to, nor have to help us; in anyway we do not need their help. This isn't their trip. But we just request one thing from them: respect. The respect deserved by all honest initiatives. All effort is born from ambition and feeds from hope.
An old sailor who fought the war in the Spanish Navy told me: "This voyage will have been a success if you only manage to leave Rome. It will mean that you have tried". He is right, if I get to America, I will honestly recognize that there was a possibility of not achieving it. And if I don't make it, I will think that it could have been done. But none of this will happen unless I try it.
Now, trusting God, we raise the anchor leading to the horizon -Head West, head to the lands of dreams. Friends, thanks to all of you for your great help. We hope not to defraud you. We will try and do our best!
God Bless us! Alvaro