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24 years in the making, this handmade floating island is the stuff of dreams

Catherine and Wayne King don’t mess around when it comes to living off the grid. They built themselves their own private island in a secluded cove off the coast of Vancouver Island in Canada, and they have been enjoying this alternative life for over twenty-four years.

As a child, Wayne built treehouses. As an adult, he put those talents to good use. Wayne built the entire 500-ton floating structure by hand, with his chief tools being a hammer and a saw. From above, the man-made island looks like a jumble of buildings surrounded by a sea of plants. The Kings even have their own dance floor and lighthouse. The home is tethered to the shore and only accessible by water.

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When asked if he ever gets seasick, Wayne humorously replies “No, but when I go on land I get land sick.” The couple, who are artists, weren’t able to buy real estate, so they had to create it themselves. They soon found that subsistence living was a great option for them. It allows them to have all their basic needs met and to create art and be independent.

Catherine grows the couple’s produce in four floating greenhouses. Clayoquot Sound, where the couple set up their floating paradise, has abundant natural resources.  On nice days, Wayne paddles his canoe out into the cove and fishes. When the water is rough or the weather doesn’t cooperate, he is content to fish right from the living room through a fishing window in the floor.

Away from the hustle and bustle of city living, the couple has thrived in their unconventional surroundings. They couldn’t imagine having things any other way. In regards to their lifestyle, Catherine says “I feel completely fulfilled.” Wayne joked, “That’s great honey. I’m working on it.”