Response to Sustainable Living On The Waterpod Post

This post is in response to a comment made by bill w. to our post about the Waterpod project, Sustainable Living Floats Into Sheepshead Bay.

Here is bill w.’s comment and our response, below:

What’s so new? People have been living on boats for years. Most communities discurage this because they don’t “pay taxes”. How about Ried Stowe, living on a boat going around the world for 1000 days? Whats novel about this barge is that they are asking for donations. Imagine Sheesphead Bay filled with barges like this. What would the neighbors think?

Thank you, bill w., for bringing this to our attention.

If you’ve been reading Sheepshead Bites regularly, you might have noticed that we like to bring you a wide variety of news and happenings about issues related to Sheepshead Bay. The Waterpod project was an innovative visitor in our bay and we thought it might be worth a mention on our site, with hopes that our readers might be glad to hear about the project.

With regard to the fact that “people have been living on boats for years”. I figured that was true when I first did the post, hence no mention of the Waterpod being the ‘first-ever, revolutionary, never before seen, pioneer achievement waterborne living facility the world has ever known.’

But whenever someone or a group of visionaries attempt to show people how to live healthily in an alternative living environment, it is so out of the ordinary that we need to talk about it as if it’s a brand new concept.

Thanks for reminding us about Reid Stowe whose project, though similar to this one, had some major differences. We appreciate the artist/mariner’s work and this post is not meant, in any way, to reduce his lifetime achievement with silly competitiveness. But when the press outed him as a convicted drug smuggler who owed child support, many of his supporters jumped ship — like his girlfriend and sole companion for the voyage had to do when she became sea-unworthy (partially due to her pregnancy).

The artists on The Waterpod are growing a wide variety of vegetables in their garden. That’s something rare, and the modern-day ocean explorer you mentioned did not have fresh vegetables and fruit. Captain Reid said on March 18, 2007 on the FAQ section of his website,

We will bring enough food to last two people a full three years. Our diet consists of mostly rice and beans, pasta and sauce, dried fruits, sprout salads, and salt fish.

Wikipedia cited an article in the Gothamist that said Stowe had to spend some time in a federal jail after he was found with 15 tons of marijuana stowed away on board his ship in the 1990’s. During his long voyages, do you think he dipped into the supply a little to help him fight the lonely sea boredom? If so, how did he deal the the associated food cravings?

So, in one way, the solitary life that he still lives out in South American waters removed him from public scrutiny and kept him out more trouble that might land him in the penitentiary, again. (But, please don’t quote us on that.)

Another difference between Stowe Reid’s voyage and the Waterpod is that the floating barge has made a special effort to take care of human waste product generated on board by utilizing the latest processes available. According to Wikipedia, Reid Stowe was issued a misdemeanor citation by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation when it was found that his vessel was equipped with “two functional marine toilets that flushed directly into the Hudson River and did not have any pollution control devices.”

It is also important to note that Reid Stowe also receives donations for his project. Wikipedia says that one of his cautious contributors, Brooklyn food importer Danny Khadouri, donated $7K worth of groceries to the project. Additionally, the website for his project has a donation button, much like the Waterpod project. So, you can definitely say that his project was the pioneer, at least, in fundraising techniques.

Yes, Reid Stowe was the first to ever receive donations to fund a project in all the history of mankind. That makes the Waterpod, the second most novel in the charitable contributions department. Sheepshead Bites is the third — have you noticed our donation button?

Finally, I would like to point out the most significant difference between other similar projects and the Waterpod: To my knowledge, none of the others ever visited my favorite bay.

Just for visiting Sheepshead Bay and showing us their working experiment and green vegetables by welcoming us into their living room garden (and that, too, on July 4 weekend) is worthy of at least one uncritical post, don’t you agree?