Richart Sowa had a long-standing dream that was a little bit different than most; he wanted to build a free-standing, floating island. For the past 8 years, he has worked to build the island out of over 100,000 recycled bottles in Isla Mujeres Bay near Cancun. He named it Joyxee Island.
On the floating island, Richart, who is originally from Middleborough, Yorkshire, build a house with 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. His environmentally-friendly setup also contains a dry compost ecological toilet and rain is collected for running water coming out from conch shells.
The island also features two ponds and a solar-powered waterfall. The washing machine runs off of wave-power, and solar panels provide electricity. The island even has an Internet connection through A 100 foot-long umbilical cord that connects the island to the shore.
“Living on my own floating island has been my dream for over two-decades,” said Mr Sowa, who has been married twice and has four children and six grandchildren.
Joyxee Island is Mr Sowa’s third bottle-island. The previous two were out in unprotected waters and destroyed by hurricanes. After the destruction of the second, called Spiral Island, he started on his third with ten bags of bottles he was able to retrieve.
Sowa continues to build out the island with more bottles, and the Mexican Government has recognized it as an “Eco Boat”, which requires it to comply with all current boating regulations. This involved the purchase of fire extinguishers, life ring buoys and emergency kits. Sowa funded these additions with a Kickstarter campaign.
Tourists can visit the island, which provides Sowa with the income required to support it.
There is a concern that if this island is also destroyed, the debris would float out and litter the Atlantic. However, since he is using recycled materials for much of the construction, opinion varies within the public and environmentalist groups on the island.
Sowa met former model, Jodi Bowlin from Knoxville, Tennessee, who visited the island and decided to stay.
After her first visit to the Island, Ms Bowlin elected to stay as long as she could apply her woman’s touch. ‘I’ve been able to motivate Richart to fix the place up”, she said. “‘The toilet works perfectly now and solar panels now provide electricity.”
Barring another giant storm, Richart and Jodi will continue to work towards a completely self-sustaining existence in their version of paradise.