Yes, it is real – it not only floats but also has beaches and can be moved as well as docked around the world. Almost like a pirate ship story of old, the tale of this remarkable artificial island that floats on 100,000 recycled plastic bottles is long, strange and does involve tales of adventure and danger. The second of its kind, the newest iteration of Spiral Island is an amazing work in progress.
The first Spiral Island sat upon 250,000 plastic bottles, bundled together in bags by Richart Sowa and used as the floating base for the bamboo and plywood supporting the entire sand-surfaced area above – over fifty feet in diameter. Remarkably, the original island had a multistory home with a solar oven, self-composting toilet, multiple beaches as well as a variety of lush plants and trees.
Not deterred by the destruction of the original island in a terrible hurricane, Sowa built a second one starting just a few years ago – it was completed last year. Nearly the same size it likewise has beaches, a house but also has a solar-powered waterfall and ponds within the island.
“After two years of planning, in July 2007 the floating Eco-Yland of Joysxee was spawned using 10 well preserved bags of bottles in the Laguna Makash, Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a lush, carribean fish shaped island 14 kilometers off the coast of Cancun and has a temple dedicated to Ixchel the Mayan goddess of fertility. From the air, the Laguna Makash can be seen clearly in the position of the fishes womb and Joysxee Island is now taking the shape of a baby fish and is flourishing after five years of incubation. Joysxee is now 25m wide and 30m long, floating on approximately 150,000 plastic bottles.”
Far from an eccentric individual’s attempt to escape from the world, Spiral Island is a remarkably welcoming place – many people came together to help recreate it when the first one was destroyed. Camera and news crews have also been invited onto the island as it is (naturally) something of an international sensation.