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Retracing Ponce de Leon's path -- on a water scooter

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 12:17 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
A statue of Juan Ponce de Leon sits in front of the second oldest church in the New World, San Jose Church in Puerto Rico.
A statue of Juan Ponce de Leon sits in front of the second oldest church in the New World, San Jose Church in Puerto Rico.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alvaro de Marichalar is tracing explorer Ponce de Leon's path on a water scooter
  • He left San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday and is heading to Florida
  • Followers can track his progress on Twitter

(CNN) -- What a difference 500 years makes.

Paintings of Juan Ponce de Leon portray the 16th century Spanish explorer wearing armor and a feather in his cap as he set out on his journeys by boat.

Now another Spaniard and self-described adventurer is retracing his path, wearing spandex pants and a neon yellow jacket -- and riding on a water scooter.

Alvaro de Marichalar left San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday and hopes to arrive in St. Augustine, Florida, next month to mark the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's arrival there.

Followers can use Twitter to track the progress of de Marichalar -- who made it into the record books when he was the first person to cross the Atlantic on a water scooter in 2002.

He told CNN affiliate WAPA that he plans to make the first stop of his more than 1,600-mile journey in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

CNN en EspaƱol's Rebeca Perez Arocho contributed to this report.

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