Tuesday, January 18, 2005

In the process of moving to Switzerland

I'm in the process of moving to Switzerland to take on a new job after taking 5 years time off from the rat race.

I guess I'm joining back up, but this time on my terms, and of course, I've always wanted to visit Switzerland and other parts of Europe, so taking the job offer was a no brainer.

I will be adding more photos and stories to the Spiral Island Journal site in early February 2005, shortly after I get settled into my new surroundings in Switzerland.



At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, RandyMac. i'm a writer for a national magazine in the u.s. we're interested in doing a story about richie. can you help me get in touch with him? brad

At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


RandyMac here.

I have not been keeping this site up to date as my health failed from severe food poisoning this past spring whiloe in Europe but I am back in Canada now and I am feeling better now. I will make every effort to provide more up to date information on a regular basis.

Richie's email address is available below in this updated information on Spiral Island. I was recently asked some questions about the island and I am now just responding.


Some very Sad news about Richie's Spiral Island.

To all Spiral Island fans,

I have some very sad news about Richie Sowa and his once amazingly beautiful Spiral Island.

Hurricance Emily got the better of Richie's once
beautiful Spiral Island and now Richie has to make
plans decide to rebuild his Island wonder or live
somewhere else.

I received an email from Richie last week and it was
sad to learn that hurricane Emily did not spare his

To answer the questions posted here recently here is the information you requested.

Question 1. What is the netting used to contain the
plastic bottles made of?

The local dishermen near Puerto Aventuras give Richie
there old fishing nets and each net can hold
approximately 70 to 80 plastic bottles. Richie uses a
strong poundage fishing line to sew the nets up when
the bottles were added to the nets. The nets where
then shoved under the island with a long pole pushing
the netted bottles down through the sea water in the
center donut inside the middle of his palapa (home) on
the island.

Question 2: Can the netting deteriorate in time?

Yes, the salt water will eventually deteriorate the
netting but it takes quite a while to rot. If my
memory serves me right I believe that the fishermen's
nets can last an average of 6 to 10 years as long as
they do not get dragged over any reef rocky area where
the island is located.

Question 3: What kind on maintenance is needed? Richie
is constantly adding bottles to maintain the island's
bouyancy. He has to inspect the underwater area of the
island on a constant basis to make sure that the
netting is holding all the bottles inide the net bags.
Essentially Spiral Island was a breathing living
ecosystem made up and manmade materials, and mother
natures materials. It was essentially a floating
tennis court sized island with a full palpapa home
erected on it where Richie lived.

Question 4: Can the plastic bottles biodigrad in
time? Yes, the bottles are plastic and the salt water
and the constant movement of the island will
eventually degarde the bottles.

Question 5: How were they sealed shut?

The bottles each have a cap put on them to keep the
air inside which acts as bouyancy for the island. The
island is very heavy with vegetation (mangrove trees,
beach sand and plants) and the bottles need to be
constantly added to to keep the island floating. On
average Richie has to keep adding more plastic bottles
under the island as he adds more weigh and asd the
island becomes saturated with sea water. Essentially
the island is it's own ecosystem and many sea
creatures made their home under Spiral island.

When I was down to visit Richie a few years ago I
would put on my snorkel gear and swim under the island
to inspect it to make sure that no netting came loose
allowing any bottles to escape containment in the
netting. If there were any nets that had somehow
loosened up we helped Richie by sewing them back up
with fishing line so the bottles would not escape.
This was a constant task for Richie to maintain the
Island. Essentially his labour of love to keep his
island home intact and bouyant.

The pictures below of the hurricane damage of Spiral
island were sent to me by Richie and they are very sad
sight to see. They were taken the day after hurricane
Emily slammed into Puerto Aventuras area in Quintana
Roo Mexico. Very sad to see, but I do hope that Richie
can rebuild his dream island in another more protected
cove one day. I have encouraged Richie to consider
setting up a Spiral Island rebuilding donation account
soon and I hope to assist him by encouraging his many
friends and curious people to perhaps help him to
rebuild his home and island by making a small
donation. There is no further information of how this
will be made possible or any firm information on how
people can help Richie at this time, but it would be a
real sad day to know that Richie's Spiral Island was
no longer going to be in the area any more. I do
believe people will help him to rebuild his Island one
day soon.

Richie is a very special man and many people are
rallying to help him to rebuild his island wonder.

I hope to get back to posting more information on the
Spiral Island Journal site soon to update people about
Richie and his dream island.

I am pleased to answer your questions and if you have
any further questions please don't hestitate to ask. I
have included Richie email address so that you can
contact himn directly if you so choose.

Richie Sowa's email: spiralisland@hotmail.com

Take care,



At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Magius said...

I was wondering if you had any more pictures of the Island, even though it is now gone. I have most of the pictures from the geocities site, and I was wondering if there were anymore of them, like an underwater view of it maybe? Could you send some pictures to me? magius360@gmail.com

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Den said...

Thanks for letting us post comments RandyMac, - very cool of you. I work online with my own home based business website. I have a new digital camera site. It pretty much covers new digital camera related stuff.
Check it out if you get the chance. Thanks again!

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At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Graham Chesswas said...

how cool I remember seeing a piece on richie on the tv here in the uk im sure. I remember it must have been one of his prototypes I am very intrigued by this island from an enviromental standpoint, it makes you wonder if this type of thing is a viable living space for anywhere. I think it is a wonderful dream to be able to build your own island be nice to build one off shore claim your own country hehe.

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On checking info on my brother's spiral island I was disturbed to see my email address for all and sundry to see. I would be grateful if you could delete mine and my family's emails from the link to Richard's email.
It is fantastic that you are promoting Spiral Island for Richard but not all of his family like to live in the limelight.
Many thanks
Annie Scott


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