Daily Republic file 2012

Building Delta City

The frontier is near; the ocean is far

Charlie Deist
Jun 26, 2018 · 8 min read

Back to the Future: Seasteading 1.0

This July, an eclectic mix of sailboats, DIY platforms, repurposed barges and tugboats will converge on the Sacramento—San Joaquin river delta for the 10th annual “Ephemerisle” festival. What began as a small-scale experiment in floating, autonomous living, aka “seasteading,” was supposed to give rise to more permanent communities and businesses that would carry the torch into deeper waters. Yet a decade later, it hasn’t happened.

A glimpse at the creativity, innovation, and fun of the first Ephemerisle floating festival, held in 2009 in the Sacramento River Delta. Shot, directed, and edited by Jason Sussberg.

After Ephemerisle

I’m almost surprised that more people don’t opt for a simple, low-cost lifestyle along the banks of the Sacramento–San Joaquin. The Delta is one of California’s splendors. Life slows down on the meandering waterways, and you quickly forget the stresses of the city.

The Nuts and Bolts

Wood, barrels, and bolts. It works!
Parts list for the full-size raft, and a 1:6 scale model, using jars for “flotation” instead of barrels.
From *Handmade Houseboats: Autonomous Living Afloat*
Architect Darrell Caraway draws the original concept for the Deltastead. My drawings are less exact, but build on the fundamental idea.

What’s it For?

The Delta wagon can turn any sailboat into an island campsite. At just under 400 square feet, the platform can be used for resting, fishing, praying, stretching, “MovNat”, diving, cooking, and sleeping. That’s one small step for seasteading and one modest-sized leap for mankind.