A Florida man startled beachgoers when he washed ashore inside a hybrid bubble-running wheel device.
The man, identified by a local news channel as Reza Baluchi, washed ashore in Flagler county on the east coast of Florida on Saturday.
He was inside a large barrel-type device which appeared to have flotation buoys attached to each end. The Flagler county sheriff’s office posted photos of the strange vessel on Facebook.
“The occupant advised he left the St Augustine area yesterday to head to New York,” the sheriff’s office said, “but came across some complications that brought him back to shore”.
“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.”
Fox 35 Orlando reported that Baluchi’s aim was to “run” to the northern US or Bermuda. Baluchi instead ended up 30 miles south of his St Augustine start point.
“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,” he told the TV channel. “They are in public service, they do it for safety and they help other people.”
He added: “I will show people anything you want to do, do it. Don’t listen to anyone. Chase your dreams.”
The Sun-Sentinel reported that Baluchi was forced to turn back after he discovered that some of his safety and navigation equipment had been stolen. The equipment has been recovered, and Baluchi plans to resume his journey once the weather improves, the newspaper said.
A video on Baluchi’s YouTube channel, posted in September 2020, outlined a plan to travel to Bermuda in the bubble vessel. It was unclear if that voyage took place.
According to Baluchi’s website, he was preparing for a similar voyage in April 2016.
At that time, according to his website, Baluchi planned to set off near Miami and travel north along the coast before veering east towards the Bermuda Triangle. On the way back he planned to stop in Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba and Key West.