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Dave and Anke
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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Introducing Ray Jason's SEAGYPSY TRIBE Proposal

Pair of Wharram Catamarans

I believe that a catastrophic global collapse is coming and that the best escape is through small bands of enlightened sea gypsies surviving and then sculpting a style of living that is authentic, just, sustainable and joyous.
- Ray Jason

Introducing Ray Jason's SEAGYPSY TRIBE Proposal

Ray Jason (aka the Seagypsy Philosopher) is one who balances a love of the moment with the belief that our modern civilization, built on 'conquest agriculture' - he calls it Humanity 2.0 - is going down. Hard. Hard enough that NTHE (Near Term Human Extinction) is, at least, a plausible outcome.

But he has a proposal for us... the Seagypsy Tribe.

Loosely networked, anarchic tribes of sea gypsies sailing vessels able to keep the sea for considerable periods, he argues, would have the best chance of surviving local and/or global disaster. In his Start-Up Manual, he outlines his thinking on how the tribe might coalesce.

In case of local trouble, head 50 miles offshore - beyond the range of fuel-strapped marauders - and await developments. Should the region become untenable, set sail for a new one.

For Ray, as or more important than survival is a better way of looking at things. Wisdom.

His proposed Seagypsy Tribal Principles include such as Life is a web - not a pyramid. Simplicity is better than complexity. Embrace co-operation and not competition. Each a step-stone toward Humanity 3.0.

If you don't agree with all of them, no problem... they and your own can be discussed over a friendly cup o' kindness.

Preserving some of what has been wonderful about civilization while warning of its pitfalls is part of the Seagypsy Tribe's true essence. Ray calls it Mozart without the mushroom cloud.

But what about piracy? And a sailing vessel can't stay at sea forever! Ray addresses these concerns and others in further thoughts.


Of course, this is right down my alley!

I pine for such a tribe in an earlier post, TAZ, Sea-Steading and Water-Borne Communities. A coming together - and going a'venture - of similar souls in a watery environ. In no small measure, this blog has been a way of attracting such a community. Scratching that itch, as it were, and I thank you all for your friendships.

Like Ray, I see the hand-writing on walls closing in. Limits to Growth tightening everywhere I look. The sea is no exception. But the sea is old, and vast.

Gaia Theory notes that the liquid state of water can only pertain in a very small range of temperature. Below freezing (273.15deg Kelvin) and above boiling (373.15 Kelvin) - a tiny fraction of possible planetary surface temperatures- our oceans freeze solid or vanish, taking all life with it. Yet, for 3.5+ billion years, the liquid sea has harbored life, which has in turn moderated planetary geophysics within that narrow, crucial range.

If our life is to go forward, what better refuge than the sea? What better vessel than one which sails?

What better tribe than one composed of friends?

Here are Ray Jason's SEAGYPSY TRIBE essays to date, recapped from the preceding text:

The SEAGYPSY TRIBE - The 'why'.
The True Essence of SEAGYPSY TRIBE - The spirit.
The SEAGYPSY TRIBE Start-Up Manual - The 'how'.
The SEAGYPSY Tribal Principals - The wisdom.
SEAGYPSY TRIBE Further Thoughts - Responding to the response.


  1. Dave, I propose the tribe is here and we are it.

    1. Hi Doryman,

      That's a beauty of the scheme... if you is, you IS. It's a community awareness (possibly abetted by HAM radio net) and networking overlaid on a lifestyle which many of us already enjoy.

      The trick is to start linking hands around the world.

      The particular focus on awareness and response toward possible Collapse appeals to me. It informs many of the decisions we as cruisers might make. For me, this was a (sailing) theme that began with Ken Neumeyer's SAILING THE FARM, and carried through Hakim Bey's TAZ concept (Temporary Autonomous Zones), based in part on Pirate Utopias.

      Dave Z

  2. Dave,

    Your five links at the end of your post all point to the same July 6, 2013 article.

    These are more direct for the last four:

    1. Hi J4,

      Thanks for pointing that out! I've been having terrible luck with my connection... took me hours to set those up, and then it seems to have SNAFUed anyway.

      Appreciate your letting me know... looks like it's working now.

      Dave Z


  3. Dave,
    In reading through Ray Jason's THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE START-UP MANUAL I was struck by the incongruity of this opening statement:

    “I believe that if there is a near extinction catastrophe, a sea gypsy tribe has the best chance of both surviving and replenishing the human population in the wisest manner.”

    and the food list he recommends, presumably for those who are about to become ultimate survivors.

    "Almonds/beef stew/black beans/Bragg’s liquid aminos/brown rice/canned beef/canned chicken/canned clams/canned fruits/canned salmon/canned shrimp/canned soups/canned veggies/cashews/cereal/crackers/dried fruits/egg noodles/fruit cocktail/garbanzo beans/gouda cheese/honey/jelly/lentils/long-life bread/long-life milk /mac and cheese/mayo/nutritional yeast/oatmeal/paella mix/pancake mix/pasta/peanut butter/powdered/eggs/powdered milk/protein powder/red beans/salami/sardines/spaghetti/sugar/tea/tofu/TSP/whole wheat flour/etc"

    Somehow, I don't think the left hand has the foggiest idea what the right hand is doing! How many days did he say he was prepared to stay at sea before making a quick resupply trip to Wal-Mart?


    ***** Dave Z's reply follows: *****

    Hi John,

    I hear ya! That was a jarring list for me, too. As you know, I'm a big fan of learning to subsist in a select environment as a foundational survival strategy.

    Still, Anke and I are as fond as any of luxuries available today that will not be in any Collapse scenario. Given our finances, not likely even in deep recession or depression. Even our current 'staples' - grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and cheese - are completely out of our reach should the economy fail to any significant degree.

    Ray writes regularly for one of the gloss magazines... Cruising World? So his target readers might well be scared off by any strong mention of forage, or even limited cuisine, as a present way of life. By providing a consumer based list of goodies, he may be trying to lower the apparent bar for embarking on the sea-gypsy life?

    Meanwhile, he writes of a return to shore-based life once dust and violence settle. He mentions properties abandoned after collapse, for instance, as available for habitation and gardening. In that sense, though he doesn't make the specific connection, it may be that his present stores are intended to see him through a temporary time of adjustment. If so, his strategy would be very similar to our own.

    But that's just a guess!

    Dave Z

    1. Continuing the conversation with JOHN (Dave Z's reply follows):

      Well, I'm sure you're correct that Ray was really writing to newbies he was trying to get interested in becoming part of a cruising community. But I think if a serious social collapse really does happen even the most prepared people will find it EXTREMELY hard to survive. As you've pointed out before, the vast majority of us are at least a couple of generations removed from having any sort of self-sufficient, living-off-the-land skills. So you stockpile a bunch of bullets and fishhooks and seeds. What do you do after you've fired your last bullet, or broken your last leader, or planted your last hybrid seed (oops, should have bought heritage seeds)? Even you and Anke, who've built your own boat, what will you do after your last spare line has chafed, or your last spare anchor has become hopelessly fouled? In a way, I think all this survival planning is just a type of game. Likely helpful for a small or short disruption, but probably woefully inadequate for anything major and long-term.

      A friend once gave me a tee-shirt with a picture of Eeyore on it. I wonder why?


      ***** Dave's reply *****

      Hi John,

      We all need the Eeyores, to keep us honest! 8)

      I agree that preparation is dicey business with few to no guarantees. Also that ANY stores/material goods we have set aside are a) limited, and b) are subject to loss, whether to entropy or bandits. In that light, I see material preparations soley as a means to ease one through an abrupt adjustment period, beset with new learning curves.

      Therefore I constantly harp on 'knowledge hoarding'. Acquiring skills and maintaining them. Also, relocation to an environment that has the potential to feed you AT OR NEAR YOUR SKILL LEVEL. The sooner we make that lifestyle shift and the more learning curves we've surmounted by the time we need them, the better our chances.

      My opinion is that there will be scads of (non-food) salvage, post-collapse, that will last our lifetimes. In that sense, we're not personally facing a stone age. Still, most industrial techniques will be out of reach. Part of knowledge hoarding is keeping an eye out for how pre-industrial peoples managed. Armed with the advantage of metals, a working knowledge of physics and the scientific method, and drawing from millennia of inspiration, trial and error, we've got an edge.

      The best laid plans may well come to naught. Much of survival, I believe, will be a matter of luck. But we can stack the deck and be ready for the lucky cut. It's healthy, fun and beats the heck out of starving to death, simply because trucks stop rolling.

      An ounce of preparation may well prove to be worth a pound of improvisation!

      Dave Z

    2. I agree with Eeyore. We should all do nothing. NOT.

  4. Again, as with most Prepper discussions, the same ol' question pops up with its immediate answer: Who is able to do this? Those who are already of means. Having a little experience with the ongoing and slow completion of a simple, coast-dependent sailboat on an income somewhat south of $15K a year, I've some experience upon which to base this remark. (Mention of which, speaking strictly for myself, here goads me: It's high time I put down on paper something of which I've been calling, "itinerant philosopher" style, the Refugia Movement. Something like that allows folks whose only advantage is where they already live to begin to change direction where they are, within the means they have...)

    There's this, too: I've MET many big, open-ocean sailboat folks. I'm not at all sure I want those to be the ones to carry our human possibilities into the future. Before long, we'd be right back where we are now.

    1. Of course, we can all shrug and say, "lot's of people are going to die, anyway," but setting aside the privileged callousness of that, we would do well to remember that those least responsible for the mess we're in are likely to be the ones to bear the brunt of it. AND, it's exactly those folk--the one's not responsible--who are the people we are most likely to need for any human future worth contemplating.

    2. Hi Peter,

      I've been giving the means a lot of thought (see the following post).

      When I got going, and for years prior, the successful sea gypsies were low income, seat-of-the-pants improvisers, in the main. Don't see that as much, any more, but in some ways, it's easier than ever.

      It seems to me more a question of WILL - something you've been demonstrating with your advancing build (despite low income), and something often lacking among the world cruisers you mention (fortunately, there are others!). At least in our privileged corner of the world, with the WILL to succeed, the means are in reach.

      Just add creativity, time and persistence.

      Dave Z

  5. No guarantees. Life is a gift. When a hurricane approaches do all you can then have a cane party. All else is senseless whining.