Friday, December 24, 2004

Sam Barcroft's photos of Spiral Island

Just a note on XMas eve to let you know that Sam Barcroft has some excellent photos of Richie's Spiral Island on is professional photography site; Please check them out at :

Thanks for posting the the awesome SI shots Sam.


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Richie steers the island

Richie steers the island
Originally uploaded by RandyMac.

There were many doubters that day, but after Richie and I got the 9.9 Mercury outboard motor attached to the island, Richie was all smiles as he wathced his island move, ever so slowly. He was so pleased that he was finally in a position to move the island. On this day in February Richie took the island out for a small spin around the lagoon at Puerto Aventuras.


My first view of Spiral Island

My first view of Spiral Island
Originally uploaded by RandyMac.

Shortly after meeting Richie Sowa at a Puerto Aventuras restaurant cafe' on January 12, 2001 I made my way over to Spiral Island.

Some friends from Germany and I swam over to the island and spent the afternoon with Richie as he gave us the royal treatment and tour of Spiral Island. This was the beginning of a great friendsip with Richie, and an incredible experience as I spent the next 4 months helping Richie at various times to move his island and make repairs.

More photos later, now that I have learned how to post photos to Blogger.



Originally uploaded by RandyMac.

RandyMac and Richie Sowa do the famous Spiral Handshake

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Spiral Island First Day RandyMac meets Richie Sowa

In early January 12, 2001, about one month after moving to Paamul, 3 kms north of Puerto Aventuras Mexico, my friend Burger told me of this cool floating island just down the road. Burger was learning to play guitar and Richie Sowa was his new music mentor. Later that day I decided to check this man made wonder out first hand.

I drove my little 4x4 down the road, turned into the Puerto Aventuras private resort, and met with Richie Sowa at one of the local cafes. Later that day, I made my way around the back of the resort using Richie's directions, and finally had my first viewing of Richie's incredible Spiral Island. Richie waved me over, so my friends and I made our way over to the island the eay way. We jumped into the lagoon for a swim and stroked our way over to this tennis court size man made eco island.

Richie was an incredible host, and it was soon obvious that he exuded a rare passion for ecology and the surrounding natural settings.

More later....



Tis is one of the many news stories posted on the web that informs the public about Richie Sowa and his floating island. I hope more visitors contribute links to other news stories.

OTTAWA NEWS: Date: 2001

Man-made island paradise floats on 250,000 plastic bottles

More impressive than Robinson Crusoe's abode, Spiral Island boasts three beaches, a garden and a two-bedroom house with a toilet and shower. Many people who dream of escaping to a desert island will never get further than the travel agent's, but Richie Sowa has proved that he's got more bottle than most.

In fact, he's got 250,000 of them -- and they've been used to create his very own paradise, just south of Cancun in Mexico...

To view the complete Ottawa news story click the link title above with the little green arrow.


new Spiral Island Blogging site is up an running: 1st Day

THE REAL SPIRAL ISLAND WEB SITE HISTORY: From November 2001 to August 2003 I created and maintained the Real Spiral Island web site for my good friend Richie Sowa. In September 2003 I decided to no longer maintain the site on Apple's .Mac domain server due to costs and limited editing flexibility. Over the past year I have been searching for the best delivery method to make Richie's island wonder more accessible to visitors, and finally decided that a weblog or Blog was the best format.

DECEMBER 22, 2004: The Real Spiral Island Blogger is the start of a new web journal allowing the curious fans and many friends of Richie Sowa to make comments and publish stories about their visits to the island, to keep abreast of Richie's progress on the island.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SPIRAL ISLAND: Spiral Island composed of over 250,000 discarded plastic bottles held together within fishermans netting, and is covered with old sheets and scap pieces of plywood, over 10 tons of pearl white beach sand, and includes mangrove trees and various native vegetation that grows atop this buoyant sea mat consisting of plant roots or other organic detritus.

The area beneath this floating sea mat is exceptionally rich in aquatic lifeforms and is feed from the surrounding vegetation that has grown on the island.

The island's buoyancy is maintained as a result of a combination of the air tight plastic bottles aided by the oxygen generated naturally in the island's root mass ffrom the surrounding vegetation for support to retain their top-side-up orientation.

Spiral Island has been featured on an episode of the popular Ripley's Believe it or Not television programme, and was also featured on various other media outlets including the Spanish TeleMondo channel.

As promised to Richie, I am now getting around to designing, maintaining and republishing the real Richie Sowa Spiral Island web site to allow family, friends and curious web visitors to post their comments so many more adventure travellers who are planning a vacation to the Maya Riviera have a chance to visit this man-made wonder.

Over the next few weeks and months I will be posting photos of Richie's floating paradise to assist in gaining popularity. as there is no other site that has the depth of information on Richie's Spiral Island.

I met Richie Sowa, a unique expatriate British street musican and street mural artist in early January 2001 during my 8 months in the Yucatan peninsula from Oct 2000 to May 2001.
I ventured to many maya ruin sites, including out of the way ruins and all the tourista sites. I carried my digital camera and digital video camera to every location and documented most every unique site. Spiral Island holds special memories for myself and many people.

I've seen about one episode of SURVIVOR and haven't watched since. It's popular, but it pales in comparison to the 5 days in January 2001 that saw 20 friends and tourists help Richie Sowa to move his large tennis court sized floating tropical wonder from it's safe location in a canal in the south corner of Puerto Aventuras to a new location 1/2 km down the coast. A few weeeks later Richie and friend Kenny Coleman moved Spiral Island back to it's original home in a back channel of Puerto Aventuras.

I will never forget the day that we helped Richie move Spiral Island out the channel towards the ocean, and then into the choppy waves of the Caribbean, where we were drift towards Cuba for an hour before a parasail boat rescued us and towed us into the location of choice 1/2 km south of Puerto Aventuras.

If you are planning to visit the Yucatan peninsula, then a visit to Spiral Island is a must see. Spiral Island is located in the lagoon of Puerto Aventuras about 90 minutes south of Cancun or 25 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen, or 15 minutes nort of Tulum. To visit Richie Sowa and his island wonder, you can most likely find him at one of the street cafes in the Puerto Aventuras village where he might be playing his popular street musician music to appreciative guests. All the locals know Richie. If you visit is floating island bring him a bottle of water. He'll really appreciate it.

Please come back to this site as it will be updated regularly by myself, and hopefully as a result of contributions from those who enjoy and want to add to this Spiral Island adventure story.

RandyMac - (Randy McCallum, Trail, BC, Canada)