“Bubble man” trying to “run” to the Caribbean rescued by Coast Guard

bubble man

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet speak with Reza Baluchi in his hydro pod off the coast of Jupiter, Florida.


MIAMI, Florida, Thursday April 28, 2016 – An Iranian’s attempt to “run” from Florida to Bermuda, and on to other islands, in an inflatable bubble ended unceremoniously when the US Coast Guard towed him back to the safety of dry land.

Aspiring marathon-mariner Reza Baluchi had originally planned to remain at sea for five months, raising “money for children in need and to inspire those that have lost hope for a better future,” according to his website.

But the Coast Guard was pretty ticked off by the escapade – the second of its kind staged by Baluchi – and posted a series of critical tweets stating that the aspiring bubble runner had flouted its safety orders.

The Coast Guard had gone so far as to order Baluchi not to embark on the voyage, stating in a letter: “…because your vessels and the conditions under which you are attempting to complete your voyage to Bermuda is unsafe.”

The bubble-runner nevertheless wrote on his website last Wednesday that he had secured a support boat to lead him into international waters and he intended to depart from Pompano Beach, Florida, on Friday.

While it’s unclear when he actually departed, he ended the attempt voluntarily, according to a Coast Guard tweet.

The Coast Guard plucked him from his “HydroPod” on Sunday and tweeted that Baluchi’s voyage had ended “after he violated a USCG order not to embark.”

Baluchi’s previous abortive escapade took place two years ago when the Coast Guard rescued him after receiving a report about a disoriented man in a bubble off the coast of Miami, who was asking for directions to Bermuda.

While the Iranian-born US citizen initially refused help, he was glad to accept it three days later.

An HC-130 airplane and MH-60 helicopter, along with the vessel Maersk Montana, were sent to rescue him about 70 nautical miles east of St Augustine.

His 2014 rescue reportedly cost US$144,000, and the Coast Guard was quick to point out that taxpayers ultimately picked up the tab for both of his rescues.

Baluchi, who claims to have run across the US twice and around its perimeter once, said on his website that he trained extensively for the ocean marathon inside the pod, which is designed to move forward as he runs.

He noted that the temperature inside the hydro pod bubble can climb to a steamy 120 degrees.

“Being inside the Hydro Pod is not going to be a walk in the park, it will be very hot and humid. One can easily dehydrate quickly and lose breath,” he wrote at the time.

Baluchi had planned to travel 1,033 miles from Pompano Beach to Bermuda, then to Puerto Rico, Haiti and Cuba before heading back to Florida.

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