Florida Man Attempts To "Run" To New York On The Sea In Balloon Hamster Wheel

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

The "bubble" in all its stranded glory.

Despite how sturdy it looks, it never makes it far. Image credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office / Public Domain.

There are few stories that begin with the words "Florida man" and end up somewhere normal, and this is no exception. 

Reza Baluchi had a simple dream: to travel from St Augustine, Florida, to New York, running the whole way by sea in a barrel-like device filled with balloons. He has been planning long-distance voyages on what can loosely be termed a vehicle for some time now, with previous journeys being touted to the Bermuda Triangle while surviving on nothing but "protein bars, tuna, sea water purified through a filter, Gatorade and chewing gum for sea sickness", and wearing a life-jacket of his own design. 


“I will show people anything you want to do, do it. Don’t listen to anyone," he told local news station Fox 35. "Chase your dreams.”

He ended up 48 kilometers (30 miles) further away from New York than when he started, where he washed up and was reported to the US Coast Guard.

"The occupant advised he left the St. Augustine area yesterday to head to New York, but came across some complications that brought him back to shore," the Flagler County Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook.

"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."

The "bubble" in all its stranded glory. Image credit: Flagler County Sheriff's Office / Public domain

Presumably while trying not to think about how this was a week when the youngest and oldest passengers made it to space, Baluchi's $45,000 "bubble" hit difficulty and washed ashore in Flagler County on Saturday morning.

This isn't the first time Baluchi has hit bubble trouble, with his 2014 trip to Bermuda ending in dismay. Having become disorientated, he was approached by the Coast Guard after asking several fishermen for directions to Bermuda. He ignored the Coast Guard's advice not to go further on his trip, but later activated his locator beacon, and was rescued by the Coast Guard 70 nautical miles off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida. 

In 2016 he attempted to get to Bermuda again in order to "promote world peace", despite being warned by the coast guard that he would face imprisonment and/or a $40,000 fine if he attempted such a trip again without an escort. He was towed back to shore shortly after embarking on what he had planned to be his five-month trip.

Again, he was warned about how he was putting his life and that of the Coast Guard in danger, which doesn't appear to have sunk in. 


"I’ll never give up my dream," he told Fox 35. "They stop me four or five times but I never give up."

“My goal is to not only raise money for homeless people, raise money for the coast guard, raise money for the police department, raise money for the fire department. They are in public service, they do it for safety and they help other people.”

 This Week in IFLScience

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