Coast Guard Ends Bubble Man's Caribbean Trek

Reza Baluchi in his inflatable bubble  during his rescue off the coast of Florida October 4, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO3 Mark Barney)
Reza Baluchi in his inflatable bubble during his rescue off the coast of Florida October 4, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard/PO3 Mark Barney)

After only two days of an endurance running feat that would have taken him past the Bahamas, Haiti and Cuba afloat in a handcrafted bubble, ultra marathoner Ray "Reza" Baluchi has ended his trek on the advice of authorities.

Ray "Reza" Baluchi left from Pompano Beach on Friday and was picked up Sunday by the U.S. Coast Guard near Fort Pierce, cutting short what was planned to be a five-month journey.

The Coast Guard said a crew saw Baluchi about 7 miles off the coast of Jupiter about 2 a.m. Sunday. The crew followed Baluchi "to ensure his safety and to prevent other vessels from colliding with the hydro pod," a Coast Guard news release said.

Baluchi voluntarily ended the trip and went aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gannet with his hydro pod in tow, offiicals said.

"This was an inherently unsafe voyage attempt that put the lives of Mr. Baluchi and other mariners in danger," said Capt. Austin Gould, Coast Guard Sector Miami Commander.

The Coast Guard tweeted Sunday that Baluchi's trip ended because he "violated a USCG order" not to go.

Baluchi, who has finished several physically challenging endurance runs to raise money for charity, was told by the Coast Guard to not embark without a safety boat alongside his bubble.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said Baluchi was sent a letter outlining the Coast Guard policy and that he chose to violate it. Baluchi could face a fine or have to pay for the cost of picking him up, Barney said.

Baluchi had made a similar attempt in October 2014. The Coast Guard rescued him about 70 miles off St. Augustine. That cost more than $140,000, Coast Guard officials said.

This time, a safety boat had been ready to accompany him, but Baluchi decided to go it alone rather than risk the safety of the operator, his publicist Candace Rojas said Sunday. Rojas said refueling the safety boat also would have been a challenge.

"He didn't adhere to the recommendations, they wanted him to have that safety boat, to have someone with him the whole trip," she said. "My understanding is that it was recommended but not mandated."

Baluchi, 44, is in West Palm Beach, figuring out when he will make another attempt, Rojas said.

"Yes, he will definitely try again," Rojas said. "Right now he is just disappointed about having to end this one."

In his handmade "hydro pod" floating bubble, Baluchi planned to go north to Jacksonville, east to the Bermuda Triangle, to Bermuda, then to Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Key West and end in Pompano. His bubble, which was brought to shore by the Coast Guard, will be returned to him, said Barney.

The Coast Guard had been in contact with Baluchi during his journey. Baluchi had a GPS unit and a satellite phone with him.

In 2007, he ran from Central Park in New York City through 49 states, a 11,720-mile trek. He twice ran from Los Angeles to New York, in 2003 and 2009. And two years ago he ran in a bubble on the Pacific Ocean from Newport Beach to Los Angeles.

Related Video:

Show Full Article