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Florida Man in 'Bubble' Washes Up on Beach While Trying to Run on Water to New York for Charity

People logo People 7/27/2021 Glenn Garner
a close up of clouds in the sand on a beach: Flagler Sheriff/Twitter © Provided by People Flagler Sheriff/Twitter

The third time was not the charm for a man who washed up on a beach in Florida in a "bubble" as he attempted to walk on water to New York for charity.

Reza Baluchi, 49, made it about 25 miles into his journey in his hydro pod, which resembles a hamster wheel installed with flotation devices, before returning to shore in St. Augustine, according to The New York Times. Fully stocked for a three-week trip, he reportedly found a day after his departure that his backup GPS device and charging cables were missing, forcing him to return to land.

a close up of clouds in the sand: Reza Baluchi, a 49-year-old former professional cyclist, attempted the journey in his hydro pod twice before but had to be rescued © Flagler Sheriff/Twitter Reza Baluchi, a 49-year-old former professional cyclist, attempted the journey in his hydro pod twice before but had to be rescued

He was met with bewildered beachgoers when he turned up on the sand.

"I open the top door and jump out," he told the Times. "They're laughing. They're taking pictures of me. I know what I'm doing. I am not dumb."

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Flagler County Sheriff's Office responded to a call on Saturday about Baluchi's vessel, which he calls his "bubble," washing ashore, officials wrote on Facebook. They reported that he had no injuries before the U.S. Coast Guard took over to ensure that the hydro pod is compliant for safety moving forward.

a person standing on a dock: Reza Baluchi/Facebook © Provided by People Reza Baluchi/Facebook

Baluchi — a former professional cyclist from Iran who was granted asylum in the United States, per the Times — said that he's experienced homelessness — one of the causes to which he's trying to draw attention with his trip.

"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 Orlando Fox affiliate WOFL. "They are in public service, they do it for safety and they help other people."

This was not Baluchi's first attempt at the journey. He was rescued from a hydro pod off the coast of St. Augustine in 2014, according to USA Today, and he tried once more in 2016, but had to be rescued, ABC News reported.

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"I will show people anything you want to do, do it. Don't listen to anyone. Chase your dreams," he told WOFL. "I'll never give up my dream. They stop me four or five times but I never give up."

Baluchi, who lives in Boca Raton, has a GPS tracking device with him so his friends and family can follow his journey via his website. As of Tuesday, the tracker still shows him on land in the St. Augustine area.


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