Everyone knows that empty, plastic water bottles can be recycled into almost anything. But did you know that you can build a floating island with those containers?
Environmentalist and architect Richart Sowa built his own eco-paradise using more than 150,000 recycled water bottles. And the 61-year-old man has been comfortably living there since 2008.
The British artist constructed his first floating abode in 2005; however, that, and the second islet he made, which he called Spiral Island, were destroyed by hostile weather conditions in the open water. Unfazed by the two previous failed attempts, he decided— this time—to build the third in a lagoon.
With the help of a carpenter, Sowa constructed a sturdy foundation for the 25-meter long island that could withstand a hurricane. They assembled a bamboo frame and filled it in with wood pellets and sand. Then, they attached thousands of bags full of air-filled plastic containers to it, consequently giving the land mass ample buoyancy to support the house and everything on it.
After seven years of hard work, now, in Joyxee Island —as he calls it— stands a three-story house made from shells. It has two bedrooms, a kitchen, three showers, and a wave-powered washing machine. A 100-ft cable is connected to shore, and it provides solar electricity, water, and internet access to the man-made isle.
Pretty amazing, huh?
Sowa, who originally hailed from Middleborough, Yorkshire, collects rain for running water, which trickles out from conch shells. He has a filtered pool mainly for bathing and a separate pool that works as a hot tub.
The floating island practically has everything a person needs. For food, Sowa grew fruit trees, edible herbs and plants from the sand and soil on Joyxee. Eventually, he wishes to become completely self-sufficient.
“My plan is to become self-sufficient. I am a vegetarian, and have many plants growing on the Island which I eat, but for more variety I go by bicycle to the nearby local shop.
“I have a ferry I also made from plastic bottles, which can carry up to eight people to and from the shore,”he said.
But, as the old saying goes, “No man is an island.” Sowa soon realized that despite living in paradise, life can be quite lonely when you don’t have someone you love to share it with. Although he has been married twice, has four children, and six grandchildren, he has lived on his own since.
“I’ve always wanted to share my life’s work with a soul-mate. But I’ve avoided any relationship with anyone which I thought wouldn’t be the real thing.
“I always loved my island lifestyle and enjoy each chance to show the beauty of the place with anyone I can.
“However, it’s not the same as having that one special person in my life to share my island sanctuary with.”
In 2014, Sowa met former Japanese supermodel Jodi Bowlin,47, over Facebook. He invited her to live with him on the island, and she quickly adopted Sowa’s lifestyle. She also added a “woman’s touch” and encouraged him to make improvements on Joyxee.
“Living on the island looks like a carefree lifestyle, but there is a lot of physical labor involved in keeping it up, especially in the early years before the mangrove roots weaved through the base to strengthen everything,” Bowlin said.
Sowa and Bowlin now live on the island together with a pet dog. They allow tourists to visit in exchange for voluntary donations. Sowa continues to make a living through music and art.
According to Sobify, Mexican authorities consider the man-made island as an “eco-boat”. And Sowa has to comply with boating rules. He has to carry emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, ring buoys, and emergency kits.
Know more of Richart Sowa’s amazing floating island by watching this video:
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