HAVANA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Aboard a jet ski, Spanish sailor Alvaro Marichalar left Havana's coast on Friday, heading north to Florida Strait as part of a tour marking the 500th anniversary of the first global circumnavigation performed by Fernando Magallanes and Juan Sebastian Elcano.
Marichalar, who initiated his world tour in Seville, Spain on Aug. 10, 2019, reached the Cuban capital on Wednesday afternoon, after stops at other Cuban harbors including Baracoa, Holguin, Cayo Guillermo and Varadero.
"I bring a message of peace and love at a time when the entire world is fighting against the spread of COVID-19. I have been here twice before, but this is a unique moment. I feel at home in Cuba," he said.
The journey of Magallanes and Elcano demonstrated that the world was round. More than 200 men and five ships departed from Seville, Spain on Aug. 10, 1519 and only 18 navigators returned three years later.
Marichalar, 58, has defied strong winds, dark nights and high waves in the middle of the ocean since the very moment he started his career of navigation 30 years ago, with the purpose of exploring what he describes as a "magnificent world still unknown."
"The sea has its own language and can connect people ...(with) different cultures, religions and ideologies. I very much feel afraid of the sea. But the sea is fascinating at the same time. I love challenges," he said.
Marichalar collects samples of sea water as well to raise awareness among governments and citizens about the necessity to protect the environment.
"Climate change is a global threat. We need to take care of the planet and put more attention to the oceans because 70 percent of global surface is covered by the sea," he said.
During a welcoming ceremony at Hemingway Marina, Havana, the Spanish sailor enjoyed a Chinese martial arts demonstration performed by Min Chih Tang Cuban-Chinese Association.
"Hopefully, I will be in Shanghai by September this year," he added.
According to Marichalar, his world tour is not only to pay tribute to Magallanes and Elcano but also to promote solidarity, peace and love for the sea as a legacy for future generations.
Marichalar's journey is expected to conclude by late 2021.