Seasteading Outpost: Belize
April 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm #894
Seems Patri took an interest in Dan B.’s thread about basesteading. So much so that a new strategy around that same concept has been formed on the wiki page and dubbed: Seasteading Outposts. A few of us from the original thread thought Belize would make an ideal location and thought a little “fleshing out” of the idea would be to our benefit as we weigh the pros and cons of taking this step sooner rather than later. If you wish to comment on the idea of basesteading or Seasteading Outposts, please do so on the relavent thread or wiki.
Location, Location, Location:
Though many of us first proposed an island as the ideal location, it does present a series of problems for us as we attempt to build a basic infrastructure to sustain a community. Furthermore many island properties are quite expensive due to the “percieved value” of having an island to oneself as opposed to actual value of the property for our needs. After all, once we launch a seastead, we’ll have an island to ourselves. The following property is a lake front property in the southern lagoon, which is connected to the caribbean by a river. $150k US for about 100 acres.
Freshwater is abundant in this area so we should be able to set up a self sufficient community without too much trouble. From here we have ample space and freedom to experiment with Seasteading technology while keeping a thread of connection to greater society as a whole. Not too bad for the price tag.
-JasonApril 23, 2009 at 11:59 pm #5688
But. The property is way inland, by the Guatemalan border. I Google Earth it and there is a river there, true,but how deep? And, isnt that a bit too far from the ocean?If the Outpost is to mimic the Seastead conditions, in order to train future seasteaders, experiment and build, than an island is more suitable. Also, where can we make better money? After all an Outpost shud be run like a business. If we can make it on The Outpost we can make it on The Seastead, yeah? So wouldnt an island provide a better platform for that, in terms of less goverment interferance and the proximity to water, w/coral reefs,snorkling, diving, fishing, sailboat tours, parasailing, etc as money making opportunities as an eco-resort-saesteading-lab? My findings in the area, Pastor Jason, are a bit expensive, I have to admit. But I think they have a lot to offer for the money. Harbor Caye seems to be ideal. http://www.privateislandsonline.com/harbor-caye-belize.htm. Not on the Belize subject but related to Outposting, I had found something in Oriental, NC http://www.sailloftrealty.com/2020DataShed/listings.asp?strPageSize=1&strCurrentPage=100&intDSI=0. My regards,O.April 24, 2009 at 1:38 am #5689
I do love this idea, although I have no money to make it a reality, perhaps in a year I could buy a small plot from whoever goes for it
OCEANOPOLIS: The plot that Pastor_Jason posted is right by the sea – I think you are looking at the location of the estate agent.
This is where it is:
That looks absolutely perfect Jason! and only 150k! incredible!
If people are set on islands I think this is a much better choice, from the same website:
much cheaper, and much more area than the one you posted.April 24, 2009 at 2:42 am #5690
Ben pinpointed the area the property is near and the river access between Southern Lagoon and the Caribbean is quite wide and deep… fairly large craft make the journey. The purpose of Seastead Outpost is to act as a stepping stone to ocean living. Though the arguement for islands is a good one, it comes with increase upfront costs as well as increased maintainance costs. The Lagoon gives us a protected area of water to work in until we feel we need to test something in the caribbean.
Harbor Caye at 4.5 acres is a bit on the small side to be paying 700k US. The property in NC is nice and 10 acres is large enough but it doesn’t border on the water, it just has access to water by using a community ramp down the road. I checked the address and sure enough… no waterfront edge on the property. Besides, US is expensive and for 50k more, we can purchase 100 acres in Belize where upkeep will be much lower.
For arguement’s sake, ignore personal cost and focus on overall cost to the group. There are financing and funding options available to us. The catch is… if there is not enough of us to form a basic community we likely will not set out on the expedition. Besides, for 150k… a couple of us (like me) could just sell our houses and front more than enough money to get started. Octavian has good ideas about making this a for profit venture rather than working as a not for profit as TSI does.
The question is, how many seasteaders would make a trip to Belize to live and work at the outpost if we made upfront costs a matter of investment? In other words come with nothing if you want. Those that come with something have an interest in the overall take of the Outpost at the end of the day.
Those who would not like to take part in the Outpost, would there be an interest in visiting and experiencing a piece of the Seastead lifestyle? Maybe as a vacation or a summer project? How much would you expect to pay for such an experience?
-JasonApril 24, 2009 at 4:50 am #5691
Yes, was looking @ the wrong adress. OK, this is more like it. Good find Pastor Jason!! I like it! Now,…Qustions, and more questions. Do we need 92 acres? If yes,why? If no, than how many? If no, than we have to find out if they will sell a parcel, a waterfront strip ? (opinions), 1 acre deep x 20.30,40 long(or whatever we decide). Less acrege, less money for purchase, more money for developing. Is there ANYTHING there, power, septic tank, water? Maybe not. We NEED a boat if we decide to buy. Not only that is accesible only by boat, but if we buy, we can live on it while we work on the infrastructure on land. Plus we need a boat to haul out construction materials ,cargo, food, etc. To do that we need a 50-60 footer, comercial, min $50k. Also it is important to check on the depth of that lagoon, and specially the waters surounding the property. If is too shallow, under 6 feet and no channel of some sort, we might have a hell of a time getting there w/a big boat . We need a dock too, by the way:-)= pilings, timber, or floating one(better). How many people to start? 10,20,50? If 10 ,ok, they can live on the boat (tight) before moving on land. If 20+ than some will have to camp in the begining. It wont be a walk in the park to settle, gentelmen,..but pioneering 1 on1. And the biggest question is the law,… Can we buy as foreigners in Belize? Or is gonna be like 100 years lease? Can we develop, and make profit? So we need a lawyer there to guide us thru the process. Considering all the above as real challanges to our project, therefore xtra expenses, wouldnt than be wiser to start w/ only 10 acres (if they will divide it)? That will cost only $15,000.00. Use the rest of the funds for the boat, relocation expenses, and developing the property. Small steps. Later on, we can buy more land if we need to, its there. 20 investors@ $10,000.00 each=$ 200,000.00 its a decent start.10 will go there and take possesion and start building and 10 to come later when we have housing. Or we all go and flip coins for tents vs, bunks. . I am all for it. Lets talk. Ahoy, O.April 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm #5692
Certainly a cool idea, and it will probably teach a lot about community building. But how is this different from any other commune, except in the details? There is no sovereignity, and although it is a step closer to real seasteading in terms of taking action, it is also a step in the wrong direction in terms of spending a nontrivial amount of money and effort on an intermediate step.
But enough negativity from me: im very enthusiastic about starting an intentional community with seasteading minded, explicit social contractarians, and see what lessons are to be learned from that. But getting something like that going is hard enough in itself. Buying some existing colocated property, with a relatively stable resale value. and living there in attempted harmony is a very exciting idea to me. Im not sure the added challenge of building your own house out in the wilderniss adds to the essence of the experience: it certainly adds a lot to the unlikelyness of such ever happening.April 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm #5693
Alright, a few clairifications. Many of the concerns presented here I shared early on when I began to look at Belize. Several years later I have many answers, though I’m sure I don’t have them all (and probably won’t until I put my hand to it). Belize does allow individuals of other nationalities to purchase and own land. Power and water might be available but I would just as soon build this site to be completely off grid. I’ve seen numerous set-ups done in Belize using PV Solar and a mixture of rainwater collection and natural wells to meet our needs.
This property is not “in the middle of nowhere”, it is just a few miles away from a major fishing village and about 20 miles south of Belize City (one of the largest cities in the country, major hub of activity). Purchasing a boat, getting our hands on raw materials for building, stocking up on supplies to meet our daily needs early on… all of that is not a problem. The legal “code” for buildings is different from town to town, which means for this piece of property (like most rural areas in Belize) there is no code.
Labor is fairly inexpensive but also not of the same quality that we see in the U.S. so one of our number would be required to oversee all construction activities undertaken by local labor. I for one would have no problem building our own buildings. Personally I’ve been itching to try out the monolithic dome technique… but I’m just as handy working wood frame construction.
Belize has a long history of allowing groups to self govern. We’ll still be under the umbrella of Belize law though (no drugs guys, sorry). If you are interested, look up Belize Mennonites and you’ll see what I mean. Mayan enclaves are also allowed some elbow room, but not as much as the mennonites. As a tax haven, you’ll find their tax system to be much relaxed compared to the States. In just about every way, this represents a step away from our current systems and a step closer to Seasteading.
As for the land, $150k US isn’t a huge amount. I’m sure we wouldn’t be using the whole 100 acres immediately but I think it’s wise to purchase the whole piece for our future plans. Belize economics is kind of like the anarcho-capitalism many of us prefer, but that means when we’re developed and looking for more property to expand into that old parcel we didn’t want before is now worth 10 times as much and we’ll pay through the nose for it. Rather pick it up now as compared to later.
Concerning the initial move out there, I’m sure we could get a trailer out there if we decided we really wanted the comfort. Personally, I’ve got no trouble doing the pioneering thing and “camping out”. I am an avid camper and with a single day of effort should be able to set up a camp for 10-20 people including tables, showering area, a couple of picnic tables and a kitchen area. Belize is beautiful and as long as we didn’t decide to launch during the rainy season we should be fairly comfortable.
My one concern regarding Belize is the import system. Duties on goods can vary from day to day, most import folks are corrupt and require bribes, and the only way around it is to take delivery of a sealed container from a container ship (expensive and huge). Of course, a seasteader from Florida with an appropriately sized sailboat should be able to run some supplies runs for us (note: this skirts legality, which gives me a queezy feeling) if we wanted to go that route.
-JasonApril 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm #5694
Sorry, forgot the depth question. A majority of vessels I see in Belize (both in lagoons and on the caribbean) are catamarans because of the numerous shallow areas. That’s not to say you can’t get a large commercial craft in many places but I’d just as soon purchase a catamaran version. We can pick one up “in country” fairly cheap. Octavian should probably head up the boat purchasing, I’m not as experienced in that areas as he is. I’ve got a bunch of contacts in Ambergris Caye already, so once we get rolling I’ll lean on them for some inside deals.
-JasonApril 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm #5695
I would propose Sao Tome / Principe in the Gulf of Guinea.
The advantages are that these islands are undeveloped although they are populated and have a few towns. They are also connected by air to Libreville and Portugal which allows for good logistics and medevacs.
Although the local government is stable in African terms it is very weak which means that they would not be interfering in our business. Sao Tome / Principe would be an excellent location for a basestead and seasteads could be placed in the Gulf of Guinea between Gabon and Sao Tome.
There is a Voice of America transmission facility on Sao Tome that operates much along the lines of what you are proposing for a basestead operation.
Mike RossApril 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm #5696
Wow, kudos to you Pastor. This is incredibly well thought out and a very workable plan. Let’s see if anybody puts their money where their mouths are! I give you a lot of credit for being so pro-active on this, when most people are just dreamers (me included!).
The one thing you might want to look into more are the gun laws in Belize. The little research I have just done shows that the laws are VERY strict. You cannot bring weapons into Belize, and each weapon must be licensed. The licenses are very complicated, and even limit how much ammunition you can have with you at a certain time. I found this link to a PDF of gun laws in Belize, dated 2000. It’s a good read:
Good luck!April 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm #5697
Islands that are not developed would have a HUGE cost associated with building anything on them. Plus for the first little bit we won’t be self-sufficient and we’ll need quite a decent supply of good, materials and equipment. I’m not sure these islands would provide a decent solution. What kind of $$$ would we be looking at there.
You are correct, gun laws are very similar to G.B. and not very free at all. That said, our little community will not be easily accessed by most people and the crime rate for violent crimes in this country is astoundingly low. I’m not sure if we have any “gun fanatics” who will need to bring their firearms to the Outpost… though I fully intend on bringing fire-arms (large ones for personal arms) with me when we launch the Seastead. =)
Remember… this is just a step. We’re not going to get everything we want. The outpost will allow us to focus on seasteading and likely launch well ahead of time while simultaneously support TSI efforts to get the word out. As for putting money up for this, I’m honestly thinking about funding this myself. Dreamers are welcome if they can follow their feet and make the move. Lets work together in the talking phase so this is well planned out. Then those of us who wish to profit from this venture will talk and make the decision.
I’m bringing my business with me in this move because I don’t see any significant income comeing from this outpost for the first year at least. Of course, I’ve been pleasantly surprised before and some of the interested ‘steaders have surprised me with brilliant ideas the Outpost could harness immediately. In “setting up camp” what we’re really doing is building an eco-resort for ourselves with a seasteading slant. Double our efforts to accomodate any visiting future ‘steaders and wham… instant source of income. Having resident ‘steaders take on research projects sponsored by TSI… income. Surplus food generated from our micro-farming efforts… income. Potential potential potential. Let’s work at refining our thoughts and build a legitimate plan for this venture.
-JasonApril 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm #5698
Sao Tome is largely undeveloped but it does have air transit connections and a few towns that would allow for this type of development. You were talking about being self-sufficient and being off the grid and that is where most of your costs come from. A self sufficient facility in Belize wouldn’t be much less expensive than one in Sao Tome.
In either case, you’ll need to provide your own power, water, and sewage disposal. The cost of providing each service varies tremendously based more on the level of technology you want to provide than on the location of the facility. You’ll also need to consider the skill sets needed to maintain the facility.
The issue that I’m focused on, however, is self-goverance. If you’re in the US sphere of influence as Belize certainly is, interference by Government adn private agencies opposed to your venture is almost assured. Since you refer to yourself as Pastor, let me introduce an example based on religious faith. Suppose a Mormon group decided to establish a seastead on which polygamy would be practiced. US laws reach around the world and once this seastead came to the attention of groups in the US that are opposed to polygamy or hostile to the Mormon faith, authorities from the US or the host nation would start showing up with demands that they cease and desist all polygamous activities and this might end with a Waco on the high seas. The same problem might come up with a seastead that supported itself with stemcell research or assisted suicide.
My preference would be to locate sea- and basesteads in or near countries that are stable but that have weak governments. I would also consider the spheres of influence of larger political entities such as the US and the EU since they have long reaches. Granted, this doesn’t leave many options but it’s worth considering.
Mike RossApril 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm #5699
Couldn’t agree with you more. Apparently Patri and Wayne thought of these same problems when first building TSI and this is why they have taken the unaligned political approach. TSI is for the development of Seasteads which are a political neutral; they are just a tool that will allow any and all cultures, willing to spend the resources to produce them, to settle on the unused 70% of our planet.
Seastead Outpost will be the same and closely aligned with TSI as we draw our inspiration and direction from them. As long as the first couple of seasteads are not “drug-topia”, “dens of many-wives”, or similarly antagonistic to the global world at large then we should be fine. When one of these seasteads does float away, we will be protected by our neutrality in cause… we help everyone achieve this goal.
I haven’t researched Sao Tome (you can bet I will this week-end), what costs are we looking at for undeveloped land bordering the water?
Honestly, I don’t plan on running Seastead Outpost in a way that would draw the ire from anyone in the global community. They’ll hate me decades later when the first sea-tystates (citystates) declare their independant nationality. By then it will be too late and the only thing they could do would be keep us from erecting a museum at the site that used to be Seastead Outpost. =)
-JasonApril 25, 2009 at 2:54 pm #5701
Pastor Jason, looks like a great plan. I would seriously consider joining you if you go forward with this, and my guess is that several others would as well. My advice for you is to purchase the plot yourself and then rent to others, that would keep things simple. You might also make a lot of money if enough people join.
Maybe we should set up an email list for more realtime discussion between people who are interested in this idea.April 25, 2009 at 8:37 pm #5705
This sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I have a number of worries for you guys, however.
The first is food. Are you guys going to be buying local produce or trying to grow your own stuff? Since I found TSI a couple weeks ago I have been thinking about hydroponic farming. I have the plans drawn up for a floating cylyndrical hydroponic farm that should be able to provide about 3 square meters of farming in a 2m x 1m solar footprint (and the unit can have a desalinator attached to it to directly process saltwater as a nutrient system. The idea is still in its baby stages at the moment. But I wanted to let you know that I was going to be playing around with it as a potential business over the next year or so. Once I finish one or two if you guys are underway I would love to be able to send one to you guys to try out. (As I’ve said before I would love to come, but need to get my PhD first )
The second worry I have is the launch. I’m not sure exactly what you guys are intending to construct, but if it’s going to be big enough for 20 people, you guys are not going to be able to slide it off the beach into the water very effectively… I expect that you will need bigger launching equipment (though I suppose if you get a nice incline with a good ramp you could slide it in, depending on how big it is. I would love to help brainstorm ideas with you guys.
If there is an email list for this, sign me up.
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