Coast Guard ends “Bubble man’s” journey after two days

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 “”  has ended his trek on the advice of authorities.

Ray “”  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.

“I wanted to do something unique. Show children that anything is possible if you want it,” Baluchi, 44, said while setting up the bubble on the Pompano beach a week before his departure.

The Coast Guard tweeted Sunday that they ended his trip because Baluchi “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.”

he U.S. Coast Guard retrieved Reza Baluchi's "hydro pod" Sunday, ending his trip from South Florida to Bermuda. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

he U.S. Coast Guard retrieved Reza Baluchi’s “hydro pod” Sunday, ending his trip from South Florida to Bermuda. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

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.

By Brian Ballou, Sun Sentinel.  Staff writer Rebeca Piccardo contributed to this report.


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