Welcome, Stranger! We are the Pelican/Slocum Sea Gypsy Tribe. I am currently our Spokesperson – a position that rotates regularly in our clan.
Congratulations on surviving The Descent and the Shattering. While you are regaining your strength, we will provide you food, water, shelter, medicine and perhaps most importantly - emotional comfort and reinforcement. Your injuries are severe, particularly the wound beneath your jawbone, so please do not attempt to speak.
When you have sufficiently recovered, we will tell you Our Story. Then later we will describe Our Code. If you wish to join us, there will be a probationary period during which we will evaluate your compatibility with our tribe. Then we will convene a Council of Deciding and share our assessment with you. If your skills and conduct seem valuable to our clan, we will happily accept you amongst us. Should we, or you, choose otherwise then we will give you a supply of food and water as you commence again your wanderings as an Earthugee.
It has now been 11 days since your unexpected arrival. Our medical volunteers tell me that your nightmares have lessened considerably; and that your strength and appetite have also improved. This pleases us – just as it surely pleases you. They assured me that such an early morning meeting would not hamper your recovery.
Undoubtedly, you are intrigued by our floating community. Although we have what we call a Sea/Land Base Camp, most of us spend the majority of each year at sea. We head off in different directions cautiously searching for news of the wider world and for salvageable goods. We also stay alert for alternative locations for our Sea/Land Base.
When we are here in our peaceful and easy to defend little cove most of us sleep aboard our sailing boats anchored just offshore. We do so for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is security. Your nightmares indicate that you are all too familiar with the horrors associated with desperate and vicious marauders. We also do this as a form of homage to Mother Ocean who saved us when the Descent so swiftly became the Shattering. Being 100 miles off the coast, and away from the madness and depravity, was our salvation. But some of us, on the more pantheistic end of our community, like to sleep at sea because the gentle movement of the waves feels like Gaia is breathing.
The fact that I have chosen the sunrise hour to tell you about our tribe is not an accident. Because this is the daily transition from darkness to light, it is a fitting metaphor for our tribal evolution from unawareness to readiness. But aside from the symbolic significance of Dawn, it is also a time of great beauty. As survivors on a planet that was once breathtaking in its splendor and diversity, but that is now mostly a smoldering wasteland, we cherish every moment of beauty that we encounter.
So this is Our Story. In the autumn of 2013 about a dozen of my friends became familiar with the writings of a man who calls or called himself the Sea Gypsy Philosopher. He had a website at which he commented on various aspects of the human project. His approach was noticeably different from most of the other bloggers of that time. Although he vigorously and persuasively addressed serious issues, he did so without ranting. In fact, his essays had an almost poetic softness to them.
He originated the Sea Gypsy Tribe concept. He believed that in a worst case scenario of TEOTWAWKI - or The End of the World as We Know It - a well-prepared, ocean-ready sailboat is the best possible survival module. He dedicated about seven essays to this topic. Some of them elaborated his “why to” arguments for this approach; and the others provided a wealth of “how to” information.
There were eight cruising boats in my vicinity who were initially very excited by this idea. We would discuss it enthusiastically over beer and rum, but when it came to making the upgrades to prepare our sailboats for the various collapse scenarios, we procrastinated. But when the U.S. engineered the coup in the Ukraine in early 2014 and managed to convince the American citizens that it was Russia’s fault, we suddenly became serious about worst case scenario preparations. The insanity of leaders, who were supposedly intelligent adults, starting a Second Cold War was a nightmarish wake-up call.
Eventually our tribe numbered 11 boats and 30 people. As the Sea Gypsy Philosopher had suggested, we chose a name that combined a sea creature and a famous sailor. Our choice was the brown pelican and Joshua Slocum, who was the first person to single-handedly sail around the world. Thus we are the Pelican/Slocum Tribe. However, you might have noticed that there are far more than 30 people here. That’s because we were later joined by the Manta/Moitessier Tribe from Cartagena.
We believe that there were about 14 other tribes positioned around the planet before the final shattering. We had previously arranged SSB radio channels to stay in touch with them, but we have heard nothing - only grim silence. So when we spotted the Ma/Mo Tribe far out at sea, we had a magnificently joyous rendezvous.
As for the Shattering, it is quite likely that there is not a single person in the world who knows exactly what happened – even the presidents and the generals. This is what our tribal elders have been able to piece together.
The first acceleration from Descent to Shattering occurred when the dollar lost its reserve currency status. It had been slowly declining for years, but its death came with shocking swiftness. One Monday morning the PBOC - the Chinese central bank - held a press conference in their Olympic Stadium. The stands were packed with about 80,000 people, who did not know why they were there, but who were confident that it would be an historic occasion. An inconceivably large Chinese flag covered almost the entire field. The dignitaries announced the immediate launch of a “New Yuan” which would be partially backed by physical gold. They praised this as a much better and stronger option for global trade.
And then, to dramatize this for the international television audience, a team of beautiful, young Chinese acrobats raced down the field somersaulting and cart-wheeling as they removed the flag revealing a massive mound of gold bars. Positioned at each end of this pile were Chinese Army tanks which gave the viewer a sense of how enormous these gold holdings were.
The stands erupted into jubilant pandemonium. The response in Washington and New York was probably considerably different. This was an astonishing monetary and theatrical triumph.
The dollar immediately collapsed and so the spending power of the average American plummeted. A can of tuna that cost $2 on Monday was up to $4 by Wednesday. This led to panic buying where everyone withdrew their money from the banks in order to buy tangible goods before they became even more expensive. That can of tuna was $10 by Saturday.
Soon the banks, which were obscenely undercapitalized, limited daily withdrawals to $50. Since politicians had spent the last decade coddling Wall Street while they destroyed Main Street, the mood turned ugly. Banks were vandalized and set on fire. A construction worker used his backhoe to topple and crush the famous statue of the Wall Street bull. Initially, the police moved to stop him, but then they stood by as witnesses. The government knew it was in trouble when they saw that.
Meanwhile, diesel was now over $10 a gallon and the teamsters demanded a fuel subsidy from Washington. When they were turned down, they completely shut down the Beltway around D.C. using their trucks as barricades. There was one comical interlude amidst the disruption, when the drivers from a French bakery could be seen atop their trucks singing La Marseillaise as the news helicopters captured their joyous fury.
After five days of no traffic entering or leaving Washington, the National Guard was called in. They did not realize that militias from around the country had secretly joined the truckers. Eighteen wheelers can make a pretty daunting fort. One trucker, who could sense how ugly everything would soon become, decided to make a martyr of himself. He drove his gasoline tanker directly into a National Guard column and turned his rig into the world’s largest Molotov cocktail.
Because the National Guard ranks were already terribly demoralized from all of the extra tours of duty that they had been forced to do in the Middle East, this flaming trucker episode broke their morale. They refused to attack the roadblocks.
So the Army took over, but they used tanks and helicopter gunships. There was no way that the nightly news could sanitize the videos of Americans incinerating fellow Americans. The smoking carcasses of the big rigs and the chunks of smoldering truckers were too much for the national psyche.
Snipers started taking out anyone who looked like they worked for the government. The police began to hunker down with their families rather than to expose themselves as targets. All across America, everything stopped. Nobody went to work or school or the mall. Skeleton crews kept the power plants going for a while, but eventually power started going out and the darkness spread. This also meant that the water pumped to everyone’s homes, started to flow sporadically. 300 million people were essentially trapped in their homes with very little food, water and information.
What was being reported through the media was gruesome and terrifying. The only people moving about had guns. But people didn’t need the nightly news to tell them this. They could hear it with their own ears as they trembled inside - hoping that their home would not be a target. The news anchors kept using the word “anarchy,” but actually it was “Chaos.”
These events were widely reported, since TV and the Internet were still functioning. It is what came next that may never be unraveled. Our tribal elders have evaluated the limited information we have from this point onward, and this is what we think might have happened.
TO BE CONTINUED…