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  Vilma B Crew

Click on the small thumbnail photos to see them full size..

The animals:

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Ed, Capt.Betsy, Poppa and June standing next to the first pontoon of the Vilma B, in April, 2000, in Fridley, MN, just before launching it. See more photos in the Vilma B Photo Gallery

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Ed Garry

see also Crew of Son of  Town HallBuoyant Neutrinos

Ed acted as building supervisor in the construction and as acting captain in moving the Vilma B all the way downriver from Minneapolis to New Orleans and then through the Intracoastal Waterway to Corpus Christi. His duties included training the crew and supervising the day to day work and movement of the raft. He and June did the construction of the first several pontoons and cabins. Parts of the Vilma B raft eventually became the working platform on which Ed began to build his 50' trimaran raft, the Absolute Absolution.


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June Donaldson

see also Son of Town Hall Crew in Europe; Buoyant Neutrinos

June worked right alongside Ed in building the Vilma B, doing a lot of the initial construction in Minnesota, and has considerably built up her "chops" for hammering, drilling, and sawing. For a while she was also the official cook onboard the Vilma B.

Her Statement:

"My journey with the Floating Neutrinos is a process of changing my map of reality. This involves frequent extensions of myself into new dimensions and territories of involvement. In order to grow spiritually I must risk self-confrontation and change - behave differently from the way I have always behaved. For most of my life I've lived as the effect of my experiences. Now I have decided to be the cause of them, to walk my path consciously and with awareness."

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Leah Johnston

"I want to rip open the sky and fling back every last person so doped on fear they've forgotten to burn for love."

  • Born 1966
  • Writer, from St. Paul, Minnesota

Leah joined the Vilma B on May 13, 2000, at Hastings, MN. The following is her statement.

"Fear is a spiritual crisis which leads to apathy, a form of sleep. Asleep, we lose God in monotony and name the world a callous place. Asleep, we fall into a desire for safety and forget the wildness within us. We become slaves to habit and reject The Unknown. We busy ourselves - collect money, people and possessions - but it doesn't satisfy. A lost forest moans in the center of our chests. The Naysayer wallows and dashes every dream.

"As for me, I have grown weary of the whining dung-heap that complains about the ugiliness of life. I test my assumtions about who I am as often as I become aware of them because I would rather live for ten days with my full heart than waste away for 80 years using only a quarter of it."

Leah returned home in mid-June to celebrate her son Trevor's 9th birthday with him, and to work on her book.

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Ryan Krieg

Ryan was a member of  the crew of the Vilma B from May 13 to June 3, 2000. He is 19 and is from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He was a quick learner and an excellent crew member while onboard.

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Shawn Kelley

"The true way goes over a rope which is not stretched at any great height but just above the ground. It seems more designed to make people stumble than to be walked upon." -Franz Kafka

  • Born 1982
  • American

Shawn joined the Vilma B on June 12, 2000. She has formerly crewed on the Town Hall for a brief time when it was in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Shawn stayed on board all the way down the river and through the Intracoastal to Arroyo City, TX, where she was involved in major reconstruction work.

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This courageous young girl, just 13 years old, came to the raft from New York City with Terri Grauel, a long time friend of the Neutrinos and also of Anabel and her family. When Terri returned to New York after visiting the raft, Anabel elected to stay aboard, with her parents' permission. She crewed on the Mississippi from Clinton, Iowa, to just below St. Louis, MO, a little over a month in all, and was an active participant in every aspect of raft life, learning her crew functions quickly and performing very efficiently. She also played chess and learned to juggle.

The Volunteers

So many people came down to the river to help out that it would be impossible to name or list them all, but we would like to give particular recognition to the following:
  • Bonzo, our first helper in Minneapolis, who helped with construction and also with finding scrap materials
  • Jim Beeman and Bobby King, who travelled alongside in their houseboat for a spell, and provided back up power for us when our outboard quit.
  • Bob Bradour and Darwin Malone, our "train guys," who donated countless amounts of materials and supplies
  • Jim White, Gordon Wordon, and all the others in Dows, Iowa, without whom the June's Barn raft would never have been built or joined the Vilma B on the river.
  • Terri Grauel, who donated the beautiful ochre tarps among much else; her son Shawn; and Ben, who built the superstructure of a whole section of the raft
  • Matt Lewerenz
  • Cory Waxman and his sons Zane and Max
  • Myron Skott and Basil Campbell
  • Dwight Marshall, who was auxiliary helmsman in the paddlewheeler for the last stretch of river from Baton Rouge to New Orleans
  • And many more.....

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Pearl was a kitten who climbed up inside the engine compartment of our van in Fountain City, Wisconsin, during the night of May 22, 2000, maybe frightened by a train passing on the tracks close by. She seemed almost wild, and investigation showed that a litter was in the woods nearby. We took her to the raft, where she has gradually become used to all the crew and even Thor! We guess her birthday to have been around the beginning of April or the end of March. Ulysses(in bottom photo with Pearl)  made friends with her right away; and  began teaching her how to go down the plank to shore and climb trees! Sadly, Pearl passed away on Jan. 30, 2001, at Arroyo City, Texas. Hers was a short but very happy life.

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Here you see Ulysses on watch in the anchor chains aboard the Son of Town Hall in France. He came aboard the Vilma B at the beginning of its river trip, and taught Pearl all about raft life.

Ulysses left the raft one night in Arroyo City and did not return.

see also Ulysses under Son of Town Hall crew in Europe

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St. Brendan and Spike

These two cats were rescued from under a bridge in Morgan City, Louisiana, during a three day rain storm. It took them quite a while to get used to human interaction, as they were quite frightened. They are apparently brothers as they are quite attached to one another. They are now crewing on the Absolute Absolution.

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A portrait of Thor onboard the Vilma B.    Thor became part of the crew of the Absolute Absolution when Ed began construction in Corpus Christi. see photo

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Thor's brother, better known as Siggy.

see also the dogs on the crew of the Atlantic crossing;

In Memoriam

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Special Thanks to Wiel
Last revised: May 30, 2006