On Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard rescused Reza Baluchi 70 nautical miles from St. Augustine, Florida, after a failed attempt by Baluchi to run approximately 1,033 miles from Miami to Bermuda in a “Hydro Pod,” a plastic bubble designed to make running on water possible.
Baluchi refused multiple requests from the Coast Guard that he abandon his mission. At approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, a Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale boat crew discovered Baluchi aboard his makeshift hydro pod approximately seven miles off the coast of Jupiter en route to Bermuda. Coast Guard crews remained on-scene with Baluchi throughout the night to ensure his safety and to prevent other vessels from colliding with the hydro pod. The Coast Guard Cutter Gannet arrived on scene, and Mr. Baluchi voluntarily ended his own voyage.
Baluchi was on the first leg of a planned trip around the Bermuda Triangle in the Hydro Pod, which bears resemblance to a floating hamster wheel. The bubble has a metal frame studded with soccer balls, and is made of thin plastic. According to his web site, Baluchi successfully tested the Hydro Pod last year, running approximately 30 miles from Newport Beach, California to Catalina Island over the course of more than 12 hours. Baluchi lost 15 pounds during the journey, as the Hydro Pod can reach temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Baluchi’s web site reports that he planned to sleep in a hammock inside the Hydro Pod between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m., when the ocean waters are the calmest. The bubble was stocked with water and energy bars, and he also planned to catch fish to eat along the way.
His initial attempt at the feat in 2014 resulted in the Coast Guard rescuing him after receiving a report about a disoriented man in a bubble off the coast of Miami, who was asking for directions to Bermuda. Baluchi initially refused to quit his journey, but asked for help three days later. A 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 cost $144,000.
Born in Iran and now a U.S. citizen, Baluchi is known for his extreme feats. In 2007, he ran more than 11,720 miles around the perimeter of the U.S. to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Denver. He has also run across the U.S. twice.
His attempt at running the Bermuda Triangle was to raise awareness and funds for Plant Unity, a non-profit organization founded by Baluchi. The organization's mission, according to its web site, is to create educational opportunities for children throughout the world.
According to First Coast News, Baluchi has not given up on accomplishing his mission. My goal is to finish the trip. It's like chasing a dream,” said Beluchi.
Here's a news clip of the night time rescue and how the bubble pod works.