One man’s trash is another man’s mobile treasure island.?Spiral Island may be the most strange and successful hand-made paradise the world has ever seen. For those not familiar: the first iteration of this portable (engine-powered) island was constructed fifteen years ago but was destroyed by a hurricane. The current model also floats atop millions of recycled plastic bottles like its predecessor, created from the ground (or rather: water) up by one man and a rotating crew of die-hard followers, fans and friends. And to this day, the whole island is growing – and the people and structures that dwell upon it are still evolving in eccentric and exciting ways.
Arguably more amazing than the mere fact of a free-floating private luxury island is the fact that it continues to change over time, forever a work in progress. Second stories have been added, remodeled and replaced throughout the years – featuring a lofted bedroom at one time, a two-person swing set under a solar panel at another (supplemented later with a massage table).
Aside from upcycling trashed plastic to form its very foundation (bottle-filled used tires float the whole island like a huge boat – an upgrade from mesh bags full of bottles), other sustainable moves include growing food on the island itself: there is a “protected garden with beach grapes, tulipans, an edible fruit cactus and an elephants foot palm.” Many of the on-island building materials are locally harvested, donated or discarded and reused by its nomadic inhabitants.
The aesthetic hovers somewhere between campsite and beach front resort, with calculated corral-and-concrete edges (to provide a feeling of safety along the borders) and live palm trees, mixed benches and sandy paths winding throughout. Tropical and rustic ‘island-associated’ themes can be found throughout the architecture and interiors as well. The island welcomes visitors, as well as donations to help keep it afloat (literally and otherwise).
That is not to say that living on this virtual paradise comes problem-free. For one thing, another natural disaster could still threaten its existence – and flexible governments may not remain so forever (though for now the island travels with relative freedom from one place to the next). Moreover, fresh water, security and other issues are always under consideration – after all, there are precedents for outsiders (pirates or privateers) ?invading and taking over micronations by force. Still, the island grows and shifts with the tides, ever more ready for the next source of trouble – and usually floating one step ahead.