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a life afloat

Poet. Dreamer. Visionary. Prophet. Lunatic. Fool. Perhaps these are all words for the same thing.

The ferry between worlds.

I am sitting on a floating island made of garbage – plastic bottles, mesh bags, wood pallets, plywood,  fabric, mirrors, shells – all tacked and glued together with a greater regard for the aesthetic effect than practicality – and the result is a thing of shining beauty.

Another world.

The view from the living room.

The guest bedroom - my island home.

The upstair bathroom.

It is all in the details. The smaller shell is the tap.

One recurring motif...


...another. This is the 'intercom' system.

The island gym.

The solar oven with its eternal cake - a mixture of nuts and fruit that is constantly added to. On a hot day this thing gets hot.

Flag proudly flying over the house - a two story structure with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, composting toilet, living room, bar, deck and pool.

The man who built the island believes, ultimately, he can make it fly. And who knows, maybe he can.

Big plans.

Two ducks stand sentinel on the roof of their duck house on the tiny floating duck island in the mini lagoon on the floating island bobbing at anchor on the Laguna Macax on the Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun. An endlessly repeated image – one nested inside the other – is one way to approach the infinite, I’m sure.

The ducks on their mini island.

Tropical storms have names and the one coming in this direction, as I write, is called Alex but, for the moment the island, is still bobbing gently on its anchors of old car tires filled with concrete. The island’s structures of wooden struts, covered with flimsy nylon netting and shiny baubles, are slowly disintegrating anyway under constant exposure to the elements – so, the fact is, many of the ‘roofs’ and ‘walls’ need replacing already.

Nothing actually keeps rain out because it doesn’t rain very often here, for most of the year.

The day bed tethered off one of the islands beaches, netting flying in the breeze...

...gradually disintegrating in the elements.

Rieshee lost his first island at Puerto Aventuras to Hurricane Emily.

Reishee, Richie, Richard. He believes that names have a power – and the fact that they do have power is hard to deny – contained in their letters and phonetic components and the different arrangements that can be formed with them. According to Reishee’s analysis my name is not auspicious – not the one I was given at birth nor the one I chose for myself at the age of eleven – so while I am on the island my name is Grace.

Emily is a name that contains the word ‘ill’ and is therefore ill omened but Alex contains ‘excel’ so we have nothing much to fear from the storm, with its 65 kilometre per hour winds, heading our way.

The island is also an ark – with its two ducks and two dogs and two cats – and this is not altogether by chance. Reishee would like to encourage all of us to prepare for the last days by building our own floating island because even if floating islands don’t save the planet then they might still provide an escape route from the dire catastrophes to come when the tectonic plates sink into the lava and the oceans start to boil.

Reishee has an elaborate, complex, flexible, grasp of the metaphysical. Anything is possible.

The islands animals come and go at will, waiting to hitch a ride on the ferry or, when necessary, swimming across to the shore. What they do ashore is anybody’s guess but on the tiny island they compete for a comfortable spot to be – not too difficult when the weather is fine but a dry spot is not so easy to find in the rain.

Joyboy relaxing in the corner of the guest room.

The cat lounging on a deck chair.

The larger duck appears to be finding its tiny duck island a little restrictive and clearly the salt water of its mini lagoon is not very much to its liking. I wake up on my second morning on the island to find the creature in my bedroom. I chase it out the door and it jumps into the fresh water ‘jacuzzi’ on the decking before finally settling onto the swinging seat with a view to the opposite shore of the lagoon.

Watching the sunrise from the swinging seat overlooking the 'jacuzzi.'

Looking out over the neighbouring boats. The island is actually also registered as a vessel.

Night time view from my bed.

And again.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. cass | June 28, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    what a wonderful, otherwordly spot. I’d like to pump iron (or rather, water bottles) there.

  2. zanny | July 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    the tap is amazing! what a crazy place

  3. Sandy Heinrich | July 2, 2010 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Anna, from Forks – I hope you were able to find some dry shelter during Hurricane Alex!

  4. julie | July 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    it reminds me of the shell house i visited last weekend with Bettina. Every surface is covered with shells, mirrors, broken china, handles, glass objects, parts of cooking utensils, marbles, anything and everything domestic from the 1850’s. it is like and archeological record of what was in use at that time. The story is sad. The couple who did it had 6 children who all died, so they spent the rest of their lives creating this fantasy world which kept them very busy for many years. It is very stunning and a visionary thing like your island. Julie xxx

  5. Ryon (yes, that Ryon | January 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Anna! I sure like coming back to this page, and “visiting” the island every once in a while.

    I wonder what Richie is building today?

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