BY: MATTHEW CHIN
Off the cost of Isla Mujeres Bay in Cancun, Mexico, environmentalist and architect Richart Sowa lives comfortably on his island made of over 150,000 recycled water bottles. Sowa first built his floating abode in 2005, but harsh weather destroyed the island. On his third attempt of rebuilding his home— this time in calm waters—he succeeded in developing a sturdy home. He has been living almost completely self-sustainably on his private island since 2008.
“Living on my own floating island has been my dream for over two-decades,” said Sowa in Daily Mail, unfazed by his previous attempts. He calls this island “Joyxee.”
The base of this 25 metre-long island is supported with bags full of water bottles connected to a bamboo frame, which gives the entire land mass enough buoyancy to support his home, pool, and surrounding plants. The frame is filled in with wood pellets and sand. The structure of the home was developed with a carpenter to be strong enough to withstand a hurricane. He also changed the location from his previous attempts, and built his island in a lagoon to avoid the harsh, rapidly changing water conditions that foiled his previous attempts.
The three-storey house on Joyxee Island has solar panels, three showers, a kitchen, two bedrooms, a wave-powered washing machine and even Internet. The bathroom functions as a dry compost ecological toilet. Sowa is also a vegetarian and eats the plants surrounding the island.
To waste less water, Sowa created a way to collect rain for running water, which is funnelled to flow out from conch shells. Instead of using pumping water for showers, there is a filtered pool specifically for cleaning oneself. Apart from a pool for bathing, a separate pool works as a hot tub.
There are three towers that are part of the home, which are made out of shells. To get back to the main land, Sowa built a ferry made completely of water bottles, able to carry up to eight people to and from his island. Sowa occasionally bikes to the city to buy supplies or bike parts.
To Mexican authorities, the island is considered an “eco-boat” where it has to follow boating rules such as carrying emergency equipment including fire extinguishers, ring buoys, and emergency kits, according to Sobify.
After living on the island for several years, Sowa felt he was missing something in his paradise and realized it was lonely having the island without anyone to share it with. In 2014 he met a famous Japanese supermodel over Facebook named Jodi Bowlin, and she was quick to adopt Sowa’s lifestyle.
“Living on the island looks like a carefree lifestyle, but there is a lot of physical labour involved in keeping it up, especially in the early years before the mangrove roots weaved through the base to strengthen everything,” said Bowlin in the Mirror. The two live on Joyxee together with a pet dog, and let interested tourists visit.
Sowa continues to improve the island, adding additional features and slowly making Joyxee larger by adding more water bottles to the base. He intends to become completely self-sufficient as he still relies on parts of the mainland, including a 100ft-long cord that connects to the shore to provide solar electricity, water, and Internet. He makes a living through music, art and by showing visitors the quirks of the island in exchange for voluntary donations.
“I always loved my island lifestyle and enjoy each chance to show the beauty of the place with anyone I can,” Sowa said in Inquisitr. Sowa and Bowlin continue to live happily on their island, with no intent of moving anytime soon. The freedom of the open water and autonomy of a self-sufficient home are simply too good to pass up.
ALL Photos ©Chris Maluszynski/moment.photoshelter.com