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Alberto


"I think people must assume I am some crazy guy who lives alone near the lake and who sails by himself, but since I’ve been doing it so long, I think people are used to it now. I’m a sailor, and am 59 years old. I am Colombian and was born in Brazil. I have an MBA from the University of the Andes.
When you sail in Tota, anything can happen. The only thing that has not happened to me on the lake while sailing is that the mast has not broken on me yet - everything else has happened to me. I’ve lost the main sheet for the sailing once. I have even lost the small plug that prevents water from entering the boat, so while I was sailing I began sinking in the middle of the lake. I’ve capsized many times; 90 degrees and even 180 degrees. But the most difficult time I had on the lake was during a special phenomenon on Lake Tota where the fog descends and sits atop the lake, blanketing the entire lake in clouds of fog. You’re able to see the sky above you, but you can’t even see for more than 20 meters in front. I was about 10 miles out in the lake when the fog surrounded me. I was alone like I always am, and had to rely completely on my intuition in order to make it back to the shore safely. The only things I had to help me were my bicycle GPS, a watch with the time, and a whistle. I used my intuition to guess which direction I had come from, and sailed in that direction blindly. When I reached a swampy area, I blew the whistle until a friendly fisherman found me and pulled me toward the shore so I could reorientate myself. Luckily I was able to catch the last wind and head back safely.
I bought my first second-hand sailing boat in 1982, and have been sailing on Lake Tota since 1983. To this day I have never seen two sails together ever on Tota. I know Boyaca very well. Aside from Sogamoso being a lovely city, my favourite part of the area is Lake Tota. Six years ago I bought an abandoned house, and decided to refurbish it. I’m only here because Tota has wind though. There are many tourist spots in Boyaca, with many thermal springs, and even man-made lakes - but none of them have wind. I’m here because I’m only 16km from the lake. I can go early, hitch my sail up on the back of my car, and in three or four hours I can return back home after a nice day of sailing. I hate cities, doesn’t matter which one it is - there’s too much hassle.
Why I love the water so much is a great question - and it’s one nobody knows. I would say it’s a spiritual connection. That’s why I moved closer to the lake. I hate the air; I cannot parachute or hang-glide, and don’t like to fly on airplanes, it makes me panic. I love the water. When I was in the Merchant Marine, I sailed for two years in Japan and Europe and Eastern America. After that I bought my first sailing boat, sold it, then bought a new one. Just like any family that likes to play golf, or play tennis, or go biking, I love to sail with my brother, except my court is the lake, and it’s free of charge with no fees or judges to tell me what to do. Thanks to God I still have the strength to lift my boats and load them myself and sail by myself.
Finally, to say that I will try the Guinness record 'Tota 500', which will consist of sailing 500 kilometers in Lake Tota without nautical support. Its current status is 'in process', and the navigations will be verified by the Notary of Aquitania."

- Alberto

"Creo que la gente debe asumir que soy un tipo loco que vive solo cerca del lago y que navega solo, pero como lo he estado haciendo durante tanto tiempo, creo que la gente ya está acostumbrada. Soy marinero y tengo 59 años. Soy colombiano y nací en Brasil. Tengo un MBA de la Universidad de los Andes.
Cuando navegas en Tota, cualquier cosa puede pasar. Lo único que no me ha pasado en el lago mientras navego es que el mástil no se ha roto sobre mí aún, todo lo demás me ha sucedido. He perdido la hoja principal para la navegación una vez. Incluso perdí el pequeño tapón que impide que el agua entre en el barco, así que mientras navegaba comencé a hundirme en el medio del lago. He volcado muchas veces; 90 grados e incluso 180 grados. Pero el momento más difícil que tuve en el lago fue durante un fenómeno especial en el Lago de Tota, donde la niebla desciende y se sienta sobre el lago, cubriendo todo el lago con nubes. Puedes ver el cielo sobre ti, pero no puedes ver más de 20 metros por delante. Estaba a unas 10 millas en el lago cuando la niebla me rodeaba. Estaba solo como siempre, y tuve que confiar completamente en mi intuición para poder regresar a la orilla de manera segura. Las únicas cosas que tuve para ayudarme fueron mi GPS de bicicleta, un reloj con la hora y un silbato. Utilicé mi intuición para adivinar de qué dirección venía, y navegué en esa dirección a ciegas. Cuando llegué a una zona pantanosa, toqué el silbato hasta que un amistoso pescador me encontró y me llevó hacia la costa para poder re-orientarme. Por suerte pude atrapar el último viento y regresar con seguridad.
Compré mi primer barco de vela de segunda mano en 1982, y he estado navegando en el Lago de Tota desde 1983. Hasta este día, nunca he visto dos velas juntas en Tota. Conozco a Boyacá muy bien. Aparte de que Sogamoso es una ciudad su encanto, mi parte favorita de la zona es el Lago de Tota. Hace seis años compré una casa abandonada y decidí renovarla. Solo estoy aquí porque Tota tiene viento. Hay muchos lugares turísticos en Boyacá, con muchas fuentes termales e incluso lagos artificiales, pero ninguno tiene viento. Estoy aquí porque estoy a solo 16 km del lago. Puedo ir temprano, enganchar mi vela en la parte trasera de mi auto, y en tres o cuatro horas puedo regresar a casa después de un buen día de navegación. Odio las ciudades, no importa cuál sea, hay demasiada molestia.
Por qué amo tanto el agua es una gran pregunta, y es una que nadie sabe. Yo diría que es una conexión espiritual. Por eso me acerqué al lago. Odio el aire; no puedo hacer paracaídas ni parapente, y no me gusta volar en aviones, me da pánico. Me encanta el agua Cuando estaba en la Marina Mercante, navegué durante dos años en Japón, Europa y América del Este. Después de eso compré mi primer bote de vela, lo vendí y luego compré uno nuevo. Al igual que cualquier familia a la que le guste jugar al golf, jugar al tenis o andar en bicicleta, me encanta navegar con mi hermano, excepto que mi campo es el lago, y es gratis sin cuotas ni jueces que me digan qué hacer. Gracias a Dios todavía tengo la fuerza para levantar mis barcos y cargarlos yo mismo y navegar solo.
Finalmente, decir que intentaré el récord Guinness 'Tota 500', que consistirá en navegar a vela 500 kilómetros en el Lago de Tota sin apoyo náutico. Su estado actual es 'en trámite' y las navegaciones serán verificadas por el señor Notario de Aquitania."

- Alberto

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