Man in wild 'hydro pod bubble' washes ashore after trying to walk on water

Athlete Reza Baluchi had aimed to reach New York from Florida in the handmade contraption.

Meara Isenberg Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Meara Isenberg
2 min read

You can't always get there from here, at least in this thing. 

Flagler County Sheriff's Office

A man in a giant, hamster-wheel-like contraption washed ashore in Florida on Saturday after attempting to travel from the St. Augustine area to New York in the strange vessel. 

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office in Florida shared in a Facebook post that officers responded to a call from concerned citizens Saturday morning about the contraption nearing the shore. The sheriff's office said the occupant was safe, and the person had attempted the long journey north to New York and run into complications.

The post included three photos of the beached seacraft, which looked as if it was buoyed by a ring of neon floats on two sides, with space for an occupant in the middle. "Looks like a shark cage ya'll," one observer noted on Facebook.

The sheriff's office said the US Coast Guard was contacted "and arrived on scene to take over the case and ensure the vessel/occupant are USCG compliant for their safety moving forward." 

Local and national news identified the sea-faring man as Reza Baluchi. According to his website and Facebook page, Baluchi is a marathon runner who's attempted to travel by sea in his vessel before. An April 2016 post on his website said that after a failed attempt to trek in his "handmade hydro pod bubble" from Florida "to the Bermuda Triangle," Baluchi was gearing up for a repeat trek that same month.

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Reza Baluchi likes to run, even on water. 

Reza Baluchi

The 2016 post said he planned to launch from Pompano Beach, Florida, and reach points such as Jacksonville, Puerto Rico and Cuba in a 3,500-mile journey.

"Reza will use technology including a GPS, satellite phone and video camera to record his journey," the post says. "He will bring a White House flag to display in every destination. He will survive on protein bars, tuna, sea water purified through a filter, Gatorade and chewing gum for sea sickness."

Baluchi's mission, according to his website, is to run through all the world's countries and share the lives of people by creating a film about the experience. Baluchi told a local TV station he was making this latest journey to raise money for public services, including the Coast Guard.

"I will show people anything you want to do, do it," he told the station. "Don't listen to anyone. Chase your dreams."