Reza Baluchi’s unquenchable thirst for adventure and unconventional methods of travel have repeatedly brought him into the spotlight, and not always for the right reasons. Baluchi, a Florida resident who was granted asylum from Iran, has a track record of attempting daring journeys using homemade vessels that leave authorities, particularly the U.S. Coast Guard, scratching their heads.
The most recent chapter in Baluchi’s adventurous saga unfolded when the U.S. Coast Guard apprehended him and his peculiar vessel. Baluchi’s creation, a colossal floating hamster wheel comprised of buoys and wire, was designed to be self-propelled, powered solely by his running inside it. However, Baluchi’s ambitious goal to reach London, England, a staggering 4,000 miles away, quickly became a cause for concern.
On August 26, the Coast Guard cutter Valiant encountered Baluchi and his hydro-pod approximately 70 nautical miles east of Tybee Island, Georgia. This encounter occurred while the Coast Guard was gearing up for the arrival of Hurricane Franklin. Baluchi informed the officers of his intended destination but couldn’t produce the vehicle’s registration, claiming it was registered in Florida.
Coast Guard Special Agent Michael Perez, in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. district court in South Florida, cited Baluchi for “conducting a manifestly unsafe voyage.” It was clear that Baluchi’s journey posed significant risks.