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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).