This year has presented many challenges for all of us – and most of us have just about had it with the whole thing.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get away to your own private sanctuary, where you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be – a private island perhaps?
Unfortunately, this is something most of us can’t even consider considering, but one couple had a dream and developed their own little world in a way you’d never expect.
Catherine King and Wayne Adams are freedom-loving, free spirits – artistic, creative, independent, and determined.
They love to travel, once spending the better part of a year roaming the country in an RV. Over the years, the couple spent a great deal of time peddling their art and looking for their forever home.
They wanted a place where they could spread their creative wings without answering to “the man,” but never quite found what they were looking for.
Catherine and Wayne are both multi-media artists, meaning they can create something out of almost anything – Wayne specializing in carpentry and feather work, Catherine loving the gypsy-hippie life of poetry, painting, and dancing.
They’re into doing things naturally with sustainable materials, and they love every minute of it.
Along the way, in 1991, fate brought them an idea – one that would become both a lifestyle and their greatest work of art.
Long before this abysmal year to end all years — frustrated by politicians, problems, and people — I often dreamed of running away and living off the grid somewhere.
I sometimes feel I was born at the wrong time, my soul steeped in tradition and the longing for a simpler time where I wouldn’t have to deal with crashing computers, constant phone calls, and the impossible schedule kept by a modern wife, mother, and career woman…
Growing my own food, making my own soap and candles, hunting for my dinner on an empty piece of land – and not having to lose half of what I make to Uncle Sam. It would be heavenly.
This is exactly the life Catherine King and Wayne Adams have created for themselves. They’re not hermits, but they’re self-sufficient, able to create and sustain the lifestyle they always wanted without having to count on anyone else for a single thing.
It can’t be easy, but for 30 years, this clever couple has lived on a private floating island they built piece by piece all by themselves.
It’s called Freedom Cove, and I can’t think of a better name.
Islands in the Stream
Like the old Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton song, Catherine and Wayne basically sailed away to another world, a once-nonexistent island (that’s right – it’s not built on land), where they rely on each other, ah ha.
While they were living a bit of a transient lifestyle looking for a place to put down roots, the couple had a chance to stay at a friend’s cabin in a remote location.
After a powerful summer storm blew debris – including a whole lotta wood – onto the friend’s property, Catherine and Wayne pitched in to help with the cleanup. They knew the wood must have come from one of the only adjacent neighbors – over five miles away.
These very honest spirits packed up the wood to truck it back to the owner, who then gifted it to the couple for going through all the trouble.
It was the sign they were looking for – they now had enough supplies to build a small wood house by their friend’s cabin.
Creating their first structure by themselves using found objects sparked a raging fire within the couple. That was but the first in a decades-long journey that’s now a one-million-pound handmade island in a remote part of British Columbia made out of more than a quarter-million recycled materials… and counting.
Baby, when I met you there was peace unknown…
It takes a special bond, a special understanding, between two people to agree to take on a project of this scale and a lifestyle that is so unique.
While I love the outdoors and, like Catherine and Wayne, enjoy finding “treasures” to repurpose for my creative projects (yay, dumpster diving!), I can’t imagine the amount of work that’s gone into this venture.
This is homesteading to the extreme – and it’s a lot to keep up with.
Sure, we all have chores to be done each day and over the weekends in order to keep our homes in shape. But Catherine and Wayne have a whole lot more than regular chores to maintain their own recycled paradise.
The island changes literally every day, especially depending on the severity of the unique weather when you live on the water – and this is no small property.
After all, the couple is totally self-sustaining – really. There’s no road or ferry to their manmade island, no nearby grocery store, no electricity or running water.
The brightly-colored compound is comprised of their main home, a lighthouse, several greenhouses, workshops, sheds, and art studios, of course. There’s even a dance studio for Catherine.
Each day, there is work in the garden, including going out in the boat and gathering seaweed for compost. They grow a little bit of everything, including many medicinal herbs for Catherine’s holistic concoctions to keep the couple from having to travel far to the doctor.
There’s wood to be chopped, repairs to be made, and a constant check on their home’s “foundation” – all the bits and pieces tied together and tied to the shore with heavy ropes – to make sure the island’s one dozen floating platforms don’t come apart at the seams and float away.
There are several solar panels set up to provide electricity in the middle of nowhere, a generator to maintain for cloudy days, and a waterfall that provides their water, which must be hauled.
And, yes, they even created their own sewage system – a floating septic tank. It’s efficiency is one of the main questions they’re asked about.
And then, on top of all this work, Catherine and Wayne still have to let their creative spirits soar by continuing their artistic pursuits of carving, painting, and making their holistic salves and tonics. They even have a “factory” on-site for making candles and carvings out of beeswax.
Best of all, the couple was once given a piece of plexiglass during the demolition of a local hockey rink which Wayne installed in the “floor” of the main home so he can fish from his couch.
Every man reading this just had a light bulb go off in their head.
Everything is nothing if you got no one…
It seems Catherine and Wayne have created that special niche we all wish we could find.
They’ve found another who encourages all their crazy-in-the-eyes-of-the-world ideas, have built their own paradise, and don’t have to depend on anyone but themselves to survive.
It’s unclear how they acquired this piece of water, or the ins-and-outs in regards to other practical things the rest of us poor souls have to consider — like taxes, permits, and other bureaucratic red tape.
But one day at a time, they find new materials to repair and expand their little floating paradise. They dream and create and work together to get things done.
And they have very few bills because they reap and sow, rig and repair, search and find whatever they need to get by. It’s exactly what they want.
Word of their amazing achievements have since spread from their remote neighbors, to others in the area, to news outlets who have shared their story with the public.
We’re all fascinated by the fact that people can still survive without modern conveniences because the thought has become foreign – and scary – to us now.
Yes, it takes grit and determination at a level most of us would be too intimidated to tackle. But it sounds like a dream to me.
Catherine and Wayne have got it made, and they’ve inspired others to simplify and downsize. In fact, so many people are interested in their lifestyle, they now offer tours of the property in the summer months.
Maybe the best part is that this couple can escape from most of the problems that plague the rest of us. As we all continue to deal with the restrictions of a pandemic, this couple doesn’t have to worry about social distancing or wearing masks to a grocery store with no toilet paper.
They’ve got everything they need, and their future is in their own hands.
While they may sometimes have a moment of weakness and crave a pizza delivery (there’s none to be found), I think they’ve found the key to happiness.
And, no, the couple reports they don’t get seasick. It’s only when they have to go to town on rare occasions that they feel a wave of nausea.
In the words of Patricia King, “Within you lies the ability to create a world others want to belong to.”
Catherine and Wayne have created that world and I wouldn’t mind belonging to it for just a little while.
I’ll eagerly await my invitation.