Pablo Fernández Álvarez - Gulf of Fonseca

Punta San José (Nicaragua) to Meanguera del Golfo Island (El Salvador)

15.2 km (9.4 miles)

6 hours, 20 minutes on 25 January 2019

Observed and documented by Moises Osorto

First swim from Nicaragua to El Salvador



Support Personnel

  • Cristóbal Mauricio Lagos - pilot
  • Erick Inestroza - cameraman
  • Osman Guerra - crew
  • Moises Osorto, president of Fonseca Gulf Fisherman Association - observer

Escort Vessel: Mi Marleni (Guapinol)

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Swim cap, goggles, swim shorts.

Route Definition

  • Body of Water: Gulf of Fonseca
  • Route Type: one-way
  • Start Location: Punta San José (Nicaragua) (13.09086, -87.5768)
  • Finish Location: Meanguera del Golfo Island (El Salvador) (13.16548, -87.72205)
  • Minimum Repeatable Route Distance: 15.2 km (9.4 miles) - shortest path to Meanguera del Golfo Island
    • Straight-line path to actual finish location: 17.9 km

Swim Data

  • Start: 25 January 2019, 06:45 (America/Managua, UTC-6).
  • Finish: 25 January 2019, 13:05
  • Elapsed: 6 hours, 20 minutes.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (C) 28 28
Air Temp (C) 26 32
Wind (knots) 3 6

GPS Track

Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot

Nutrition: Gel, 500ml water, banana every 45 minutes

Observer Log

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Planning this swim was not an easy task. I first got in contact with Honduras’ Swimming Federation early November 2018, and started to talk with them to get the necessary permissions. Their secretary at the moment, Mr. Christian Serafeim, assisted me during that time and after a thoroughly investigation, I got in contact with the World Forum of Fishermen People’s co-president and also Fonseca’s Gulf Fishermen Association President, Mr. Moisés Osorto who was eager to help by providing not only support boats but by sharing important information on currents, tides and weather of the gulf. In that time, I also got in contact with Professor Steve Dunbar, teacher of Loma Linda University and biologist specialized in Fonseca’s Gulf waters, he provided me with useful information about marine life there. In mid-December Honduras’ Swimming Federation board changed and in that sense, Mr. Christian was no longer part of it. Getting in contact with the new board was somehow difficult as I only had an email address and answers were took time. At the end, even though I had their support and willingness to assist in this swim, due to their new entrance they could not be in the swim but helped me contact Nicaragua and El Salvador Swimming Federation Presidents’ to organize logistic and permissions. Mr. Moises Osorto kindly assisted me by personally requesting the necessary permissions in each country in order to have everything by the local laws. I arrived in Honduras two days before the planned day and had a meeting with the team that was going to assist in the swim. The night before the swim, plans were reviewed and a time was set to what was a successful crossing.

What inspired you to do this swim?

Being born in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Madrid, I was able to experience firsthand the problems of modern era. Thankfully, growing up I had the opportunity to study and successfully develop my own business but knowing my roots, when I had the chance I decided I wanted to help those who are actually living the same as I did and at the same time give something back to society. Being swimming my preferred sport and hobby, I decided to use it as my vessel to help; and in that sense, I started a project that consisted in doing charitable swims around the world with the objective of donating money to local charities, in case the challenge was carried on successfully. After an exhaustive research, I felt inspired by a local NGO, with little to none resources, that is dedicated to help children with mental illnesses. My last swim in Gambia had only helped to reaffirm my beliefs in my project, and due to the current conditions that El Salvador, Honduras and specifically Nicaragua are facing, I knew help was needed, so choosing my next swim was easy. After all what more inspiration would I need to do what I loved where I knew I could really make an impact?

How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?

In general, the swim went as planned, the necessary permissions were shown to the local authorities and without problem we were able to leave the port, the weather played in my favor and the sea was calm. We weren’t expecting strong currents because having analyzed it the days before, we knew it was supposed to be calm, but near Meanguera Island, I faced a strong current that pushed me towards the Pacific Ocean making me push harder to turn right and finally reach the Island.


Click to enlarge.