While most of us can only dream of living in our own island, it’s the reality for this couple who calls the “Freedom Cove” their home.
For the past 29 years, Catherine King and Wayne Adams have been living on a floating compound ten miles north of Tofino, British Columbia. They’ve named it the Freedom Cove, a sustainable home that was hand-built using recycled materials. It’s 25 minutes away from the closest town, but you can’t get there by car.
“The only option to get here is by water,” Wayne said. “There are no road accesses. The water is our highway.”
The construction weighs 1 million pounds and floats freely on the ocean. As for its size, it’s as big as two city lots. The compound is not anchored to the ocean floor, and only lines connect it to the shore. When you get there, an archway of whale bones will greet you once you. You’d also notice that its owners have a liking for magenta and dark turquoise, as it’s the dominant theme of the buildings in the area.
Because Catherine and Wayne have everything they need and more in the Freedom Cove, living in isolation isn’t as tricky as one might think. It has a dance floor, an art gallery, a candle factory, four greenhouses teeming with plants, six solar panels that give power to the structure, and access to a small waterfall that provides constant running water.
The most common question they get is how they manage their waste. To address this, they installed a floating tank to “deal with the affluence,” as Wayne likes to say. With everything they’ve built and installed in the Freedom Cove, it’s clear that Catherine and Wayne could sustain themselves without needing to go into the city.
As artists, the duo has always drawn inspiration from nature. Wayne is a carver who creates his work using materials he finds in nature, such as feathers and bones. Catherine is a triple threat; aside from being an artist, she’s also a dancer and a natural healer who has studied homeopathy.
“I wanted to be a successful, wealthy artist, live in Tofino and have a studio in the wilderness, like all good rich artists should. I was hoping to make a lot more money as an artist. We could never buy real estate, so we had to make our own,” Wayne explained as to why they chose to live off-grid.
The couple got the initial materials to build their floating home during a stay at a friend’s cabin in Cypress Bay. At the time, a storm blew wood onto the property, and they used that to build a portion of their new residence.
“I guess we were being given a sign that this is the time to begin,” Wayne recalled.
Catherine and Wayne’s process of adding elements into their home was eco-friendly, as they only recycle and salvage items. Many parts of the Freedom Cove were sourced from loggers and fishermen in town.
Catherine would give them art and, in turn, she would ask for whatever they have in their backyard. One example is this installment they have on the living room floor – a piece of Plexiglass from the Victoria Hockey Rink. The clear glass allows Wayne to lift it up and fish while sitting on his couch.
Before living off-grid, Catherine and Wayne lived in an apartment in Tofino. They call their move into the Freedom Cove a “deceleration process.”
“We had all kinds of things like food processors and items that would require a lot of electricity,” Wayne said. “We gave them away to people and unloaded a lot of things in preparation.”
To them, the Freedom Cove is more than just a home, it’s also a project that gives them the chance to learn, grow, and change – three things that living in the wilderness requires.
“It is a project in growing food to provide for the family. It is an art project … It is a project to have a space to move, to dance, to play music, to do things spontaneously that you couldn’t just do in the same way if you were in the city,” Catherine said.
They may have zero human neighbors, but Catherine and Wayne still have plenty of company. They have resident crows and birds, and they even named some of them!
Although they’ve lived here for three decades, the couple doesn’t seem to get tired of living in the wilderness. In fact, it’s what gives them both peace.
“Going into a city is just shocking in the sound department,” Wayne said. “I get kind of jangled up inside … the noise starts to get to me, I find it’s easy for me to lose my center.”
“We have carved a piece of the world out for ourselves here,” he added. “We can live uniquely, differently than anyone else on the planet.”
What Wayne said is true – they don’t live like anyone else in this world. They’re able to live in peace the way they choose to, and that’s where the real beauty of being in the Freedom Cove lies.
Watch a short tour of this hand-built island in the video below from the Great Big Story.