Florida man will make 2nd attempt to Bermuda by bubble

Florida man will make 2nd attempt to Bermuda by bubble

If at first your bubble bursts, try, try again — and again, as Reza Baluchi found out Wednesday.

The endurance athlete and Pompano Beach resident went out to sea with his homemade “hydro pod” floating bubble in the hopes of reaching Bermuda, only to be pushed back to shore by the wind Wednesday night.

A dissapointed Baluchi spent the night in his “hydro pod,” only a few blocks south of the 16th St. Beach in Pompano where he put to sea as the sun went down the previous evening.

“The wind was pushing me back to the west,’ he explained Thursday morning as beach goers stopped to gawk at his contraption and wish him well.

“I’ll wait for better weather,” he said. “I’m going to give it three days, Sunday is supposed to be bad,” Baluchi said.

Baluchi’s initial attempt was in 2014, when he was rescued some 70 miles off Florida and asked the Coast Guard how to get to Bermuda.

Baluchi, 44, has been a bit cagey about his exact departure time because he doesn’t want authorities trying to stop him.

“My goal is 3,500 miles,” Baluchi said while preparing his bubble, a strong plastic container that looks like a cross between a riverboat paddle wheel and a carnival Ferris wheel.

It took Baluchi three days to assemble his hydro pod on the beach at North Ocean Park on Northeast 16th Street.

“First I’ll go north to Jacksonville, go east to the Bermuda Triangle, to Bermuda, come back to Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, coming back to Key West and finish here, exactly the same place,” he said on Wednesday before his wind-aborted attempt.

Baluchi said he expects to spend between 21 and 45 days in the water.

To prepare for this fantastical journey, Baluchi said he has been jumping rope for an hour each day — in a sauna — and has been running on the beach.

According to Baluchi, who said he spent two years in eastern California’s Death Valley, the temperature inside his bubble can reach 130 degrees.

Asked about his misadventure two years ago, Baluchi said he was actually in good shape.

“After three days, normally I sleep in the day and run at night,” he said. “I see some giant boat coming next to me … I look and there’s a 1,000-foot boat next to me. It circled and they ask me if I need anything, and I said no,” he explained.

“They gave me water and called the Coast Guard.”

After that, Baluchi said, the Coast Guard followed him for two days while warning him about the dangers of his undertaking.

“I was making a joke and asked them which way to Bermuda — and they’re thinking I don’t know,” Baluchi said.

The Coast Guard was not aware of Baluchi’s current plans, Petty Officer Eric Woodall said Wednesday.

“Your call is the first anyone has heard of it,” Woodall said.

Baluchi, who uses his adventures to raise money for PlantUnity, a charity that supports educational opportunities for children, says he has spent the past couple of years refining his equipment for this trip.

A newer, larger frame holds 36 buoyancy balls on each side, which he says can support about 5,700 pounds. His lifejacket has a GPS device, a filter so he can drink ocean water, shark repellent and an emergency phone.

And this version of his hydro pod has a bigger, better, waterproof solar-powered light so he can be seen at night.

Baluchi says he spent much of 2015 working on a crab boat in order to learn more about the ocean and the Gulfstream.

A sign on his vessel is meant to ward off any potential interference from the Coast Guard or other authorities. It reads, “Don’t burst my bubble please.”

“They say if they come and rescue me, I’ll have to pay $120,000,” Baluchi said. “But I don’t pay money, I raise money.”

He added: “I have a satellite phone, a GPS tracking device, I don’t need rescue. I’m Captain Bubble.”

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