Enabler Publications

Books to feed the Mind and Spirit

Another kind of space

Another kind of space

creating ecological dwellings and environments

Samples from the 'personal stories' section of the book:

The Floating Neutrinos

Captain Betsy

Neutrino raftIt was just before Christmas 1975 that I arrived in New Orleans and stumbled across a funky looking, 38' barrel raft tied up almost right next to the Natchez, a big paddlewheel tourist excursion boat. The contrast was huge - here at the end of the dock, within sight of the tourists boarding the old-style riverboat, under the tune of the wavering off-key notes of the steam calliope which welcomed them aboard several times a day, was this conglomeration of used plywood and driftwood, something more akin to Huckleberry Finn than the modern French Quarter. In some sense it seemed to me more authentic than the Natchez itself. This raft, the Ms. Leslie, had been built from scrap and recycled materials in Sioux City, Iowa, and had floated all the way here by way of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

Poppa Neutrino and Captain Betsy

It wasn't long before I joined the group onboard, led by Poppa Neutrino, then known as David Pearlman. This was the beginning of what would be an odyssey of 26 years, (and still continuing) - building scrap rafts, travelling the rivers and the Gulf and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterways of the U.S, eventually taking the first scrap-built raft across the North Atlantic Ocean to Ireland and then France. To date 9 rafts have been built, and a 10th is soon to be launched.

Each of the rafts has been built almost entirely from salvaged and recycled materials. Each has been designed for the environment and waters upon which it was to be used.

Son of Town Hall
Now in southern France, this raft was built with scrap from the streets and waterfront of New York City, and made the North Atlantic crossing to demonstrate that it was possible to build a perfectly safe, ocean-going vessel out of scrap and recycled materials - a vessel which did not look like anything else ever to cross an ocean, yet with purpose and reason behind every element of its design. This was the prototype which was to prove the feasibility of such a raft, so that our future Orphanage Raft could be designed and built using the same principles.

Son of Town Hall - the first scrap raft to cross the North Atlantic Ocean

When we decided to attempt the North Atlantic Crossing, we spent years designing, building, testing, and redesigning the raft so that every possible problem at sea was handled in advance.

The raft that ultimately made the crossing was self-righting, self-steering under sail, and capable of self-steering dead downwind in a storm, thus keeping itself continually aligned at a right angle to the waves and avoiding the danger of broaching and rolling.

Poppa Neutrino and I are Nomads at heart; we feel fully alive only when freely moving from place to place. Over the years we have supported ourselves, our children and our many students through jewelry making, sign lettering, music, writing, art, and video documentary making. We took a vow to each other years ago, never to work for another person, and we have taken a vow of poverty to the Universe. We vowed never to have for ourselves one thing more than what we need for our basic necessities and to carry on our teaching work, and always to pass on whatever came into our possession beyond this level. We have given away whole rafts, loaded with equipment, motors and shore boats, because it was time to move on to the next step, and the material objects had ceased to assist our progress and had become an impediment.

From the time I first joined Poppa Neutrino on the Ms. Leslie, it was apparent to me that there was more going on than was evident to a casual outside viewer. Not only was the mode of life unusually primitive - for example, there was no electricity on board, and no running water - not even water tanks, but buckets and one gallon containers which had to be filled and carried, sometimes from quite a distance. No shower - you just dipped from a bucket and poured the water over your head, and knowing how far you might have to carry that water, you were naturally asthe Town Hall conservative as possible with this valuable resource. In fact, almost everything that I, in my middle class background, had taken for granted, took on new meaning - either extreme value, or a realization of how dispensable it was. Later I would come to understand that, unlike accepted standards of living in the US, most of the world lived in conditions equal to or more primitive than these.

There was a continually changing flow of crew members coming and going - people from all walks of life were attracted to these strange floating, travelling craft. There are incredible healing powers in nature, and in being out on the water, away from the direct influences of cities and highways. Poppa always made it the first order of business to teach every new person an independent method of earning a living. Having a trade which allows you to earn a living without relinquishing your own timing has a tremendously freeing effect. And in learning to build and to sailor a vessel, you gain a sense of competence, resulting in an automatic raising of self-esteem. Since many of those who came along were drifters or down-and-out types with few skills and often with problems with addictions or having been on the wrong side of the law, these basic beginnings were essential steps toward recovery. But aside from these simple and very basic healing and empowering factors, this was an ongoing experiment through trial and error, to discover basic psychological tools that would work for anyone, to free yourself from whatever bonds, inner and outer, were holding you captive; and then to find ways to make these tools available in every medium on the planet, so that anyone searching could find some simple starting points with which to move toward finding a path. We believe each individual's path is different, even those who choose to follow a well-defined path or a specific teacher. But what we have discovered and distilled are some very simple psychological tools, so rudimentary that even children can grasp and utilize them, and be better able to find or forge their own individual path toward self-realization as a result.

Random Lunacy - the film about the Floating Neutrinos

Random Lunacy

There is also a film about the Neutrinos called, Random Lunacy, directed by Vic Zimet and Stephanie Silber.

This is the Neutrinos' website for the film:

And, here is the link to streaming the film online in the UK: http://vod.journeyman.tv/store?p=3640

Also, you can find out even more about the Floating Neutrinos at: www.floatingneutrinos.com

Other samples from Another kind of space:

Another kind of spaceAnother kind of space

Alan Dearling with Graham Meltzer

£13.99 plus £2.50 p&p UK; p&p actual cost to other countries

Read more free samples on travellers, festivals & DIY culture

or, view our books to buy on travellers, festivals & DIY culture