Spiral Island is the name of two floating artificial islands in Mexico built by British artist Richart "Richie" Sowa. The first was destroyed by a hurricane in 2005; the second has been open for tours since 2008.
The first Spiral island was located in a lagoon near Puerto Aventuras, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico south of Cancún; Sowa began constructing it in 1998. He filled nets with empty discarded plastic bottles to support a structure of plywood and bamboo, on which he poured sand and planted numerous plants, including mangroves. The island sported a two-story house, a solar oven, a self-composting toilet, and three beaches. He used some 250,000 bottles for the 66 feet (20 m) by 54 feet (16 m) structure. The mangroves were planted to help keep the island cool, and some of them rose up to 15 feet (4.6 m) high.
The island was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005. In late 2007 and 2008, Sowa built a new Spiral Island in the waters of Isla Mujeres, the "Island of Women", also near Cancun. It opened for tours in August, 2008. It is referred to by Richie as Joyxee Island.
The new island was initially 20 metres (66 ft) in diameter, which has since expanded to 25 metres (82 ft), and plants and mangroves are already growing on it. It contains about 100,000 bottles. The new island has three beaches, a house, two ponds, a solar-powered waterfall and river, a wave-powered washing machine and solar panels. Volunteers helped with the project. Sowa will continue to make improvements to the Island, so it will always be a work of art in progress.
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