Argentine amateur distance swimmer Agustin Barletti (53) swam across Falklands Sound on November 9 in 2 hours and 7 minutes. The Argentine, who has also swum the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa hit it lucky with calm weather and the swell only increasing as he finished.
Barletti was in the Falklands accompanied by his coach Paul Testa and film makers. He said the achievement would not have been possible without the logistical support of the yacht, Mago del Sur and its captain Alejandro da Milano.
In 2008 Penguin News reported that a 39 year old Argentine woman Maria Ines Mato, who lost a leg as a child, also swam the sound however she required some help from her support vessel which was also the Mago del Sur.
Interviewed by the Argentine media Mr. Barletti said the idea of swimming across the Falklands' sound surged as a personal challenge four years ago.
At the time I weighed 100 kilos and as a matter of responsibility I decided to do something about it. So I trained during 19 months and swam across the Gibraltar strait in October 2011, said Barletti.
I'm not a professional swimmer, I really never took it seriously pointed out the solicitor and journalist. I try to compensate talent with effort and willingness.
But after much organization, during the 20 kilometers joining Africa with Europe time flew by, despite the six hours and seven minutes, and then was when the idea of the Falklands/Malvinas emerged.
So while training with Pablo Testa started the complex task of getting sponsors, although it was not the only problem.
We didn't have a support vessel, but then along comes captain Da Milano one of the best yachtsman in Argentina with his Antigua and Bermuda flagged Mago del Sur revealed Barletti. The sail vessel travelled ten days to wait for us at San Carlos.
Barletti managed sponsorship from an Argentine maritime workers union and a shipyard by the name of Abadia del Mar.
The support team besides trainer Testa included two school friends, film maker Guillermo Luder, who is making a documentary of the crossing and Pablo Lima a Malvinas war veteran.
In their way to the crossing of the Falklands' sound we stopped at the Darwin cemetery to place a rosary blessed by Pope Francis at the grave of an unknown soldier. Somehow the Pope got word of the project and asked us to take the rosary and place it in one of the crosses of an unknown soldier.
Once we arrived at the coast I put on the neoprene suit and with the support vessel waiting I started swimming. It was great, I really enjoyed the crossing, I felt great.
Barletti admits that God helped me, because the sound waters were very calm during the crossing and as soon as it was over, wind started to blow with strong waves. The team then sailed in the Mago del Sur to Port Stanley.
The distance swimmer has a law degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris and as a journalist is editor of a Transport & Cargo supplement from the Buenos Aires financial daily El Cronista. Barletti has also written a couple on books, one a historic novel on the of former Argentine elected president Arturo Illia and another on his crossing of the Gibraltar strait.