Waterfront: September 2006

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Maui resort pools are much more than cool places to cool off. 

A tropical retreat is incomplete without plenty of time to relax. And if the kids are along, then fun and games will most likely fill in the rest of the schedule. The Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii, has plenty of pools for the fun time and the down time.

Because the resort's pools are spread out over a couple of acres, those relaxing at the adults-only Hibiscus Pool — featuring a giant hibiscus flower mosaic made of 630,000 pieces of glass tile on the pool floor — can enjoy peace and quiet while kids of all ages have their hollerin' fun at the 770,000-gallon, 2,000-foot-long Wailea Canyon Activity Pool. This area consists of nine free-form pools at six levels, beginning at 40 feet and dropping down to sea level. The pools are connected by a river that carries swimmers along at varying speeds, from white-water rapids to lazy currents. There's even a Tarzan pool that, of course, features a rope swing so you can practice your primal calls and dives.

One of the most novel features of the Canyon area is what the resort calls its water elevator, which works much like a lock system for ships. "When you're on the bottom portion of it, it fills up with water and floats you to the top," says Cindy Lawrence, PR director for the resort. "When you get in at the top of it, the water flows out and you slowly sink down to the bottom." The entrance to the elevator is where the water slides let out, so if you'd rather hitch a ride to the top again instead of climbing stairs, the elevator can take you there. "Everybody who comes here probably does it at least once," says Lawrence.

The pools are so popular with kids, adds Lawrence, that "we get a fair number of parents who, at 6 o'clock when the slides close, have to literally drag their children away from the pools." Ponds On Parade

Aquascape water features again showcased in Epcot festival.

Exposing potential clients to your product at local home and garden shows certainly helps drum up business — so just imagine what setting up a display at one of the world's largest amusement parks could do. For four years in a row, that's exactly what Aquascape Designs has done as part of Walt Disney World's Epcot Center International Flower and Garden Festival. For this spring's festival, representatives from Aquascape Designs and a few certified Aquascape contractors built five water features in the evening when the park was closed. The team worked for eight hours straight each night, completing the work in three nights. The crew built a variety of water features, including one with a pondless waterfall, another with a container water garden with ceramic pots and a compass fountain, and yet another with two Biofalls filters, which are a combination waterfall and filter.

"We specifically chose to do one with a container garden because container water gardening is really getting popular right now," says Jennifer Zuri, marketing communications manager at Aquascape. "Last year we did a pondless waterfall, which was a new product that had just come out and people were very excited about it. So we go with No.1, what's the industry trend, and No. 2, any new products we have coming out that we'd like to feature."

Seaside Swimming

Beloved Scottish pool a home away from home for local swimmer.

It may not have slides, waterfalls or a vanishing edge like more-modern pools, but the loyal patrons of the Gourock outdoor swimming pool in Scotland still love this watery oasis, built in 1909, and they enjoy an amazing view of the Clyde estuary — even without any special edge treatment on the pool. That's because this pool sits on the Gourock coastline.

One of the oldest outdoor pools in Scotland, it was originally filled by seawater — and whatever else came over the sea wall. According to 75-year-old local Bill Stoddart, quoted in The Herald , "You had to contend with crabs and jellyfish. You used to be able to fish in it, too." Another local who has logged many laps in Gourock pool, 89-year-old Jimmy Boyd, told The Herald , "If you dived off the board, you were very likely to dive into about 6 feet of sand . . . but the pool was packed. We were a much hardier lot in those days. A much hardier lot. I don't know about the hygiene, but the water in those days, God made it and that was it. We used to swim the whole year-round in those days. We were a hardier lot."

Then in 1935, to accommodate increased bather capacity, major refurbishments were done, and in 1969, a heater was installed. Though the pool is still filled with salt water from the River Clyde, it's now filtered, maintained at 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and the most exotic sea life you run into are flies, which the more squeamish of swimmers pick out and toss poolside.

The pool's older patrons swear by the restorative benefits of seawater. Some says it's therapeutic, while others, like Boyd, claim it's a cure for pretty much anything at all.

Beyond its history, what makes this pool particularly special are its surroundings. Campbell McCall, a 48-year-old former competitive swimmer, told The Herald , "One of the most mystical days I've spent here was a misty, misty day. Very still and calm. Nobody in the pool. The yachts out in the river, racing, were just appearing out of the mist; these spinnakers appearing out of the mist and zooming past. Very, very special."

Healing Power Of The Hot Tub

Injured soccer players take to the bubbles.

The Preston North End Football — that's soccer to you and me — club, from Preston, Lancashire, England, has traced a series of recent recoveries to the miraculous healing powers of a hot tub, installed at the team's training grounds in September 2005. Early in the 2006 season, eight members of the squad were already injured and three of those players have been able to return to play, with recovery times speeded by hot tub soaks. "We've had a difficult season with injuries," says club manager Billy Davies. "But our medical staff are working extremely hard — giving each player the very best chance of a quick return to fitness. Each injury receives a different combination of treatments, and each one is unique, so it's difficult to give the precise reason for any rapid recoveries. But we can confirm that the Swirl Spas hot tub is always a very popular part of the recuperation process."

As well as soothing more-serious injuries, the hot tub is also used regularly by players nursing minor aches or those simply looking to relax after a tough game. "The health benefits of hot tubs are well documented, and we're delighted that the North End players are enjoying the hydrotherapy advantage," says Lancashire-based Swirl Spas managing director Steve Whitman.

Pick Your Battles

This pool faux pas was not worth pulling out the big gun.

No one likes stains in their pools, but most will not risk jail time to prevent them. However, last May a 22-year-old man in British Columbia, Canada, yelled at and then pulled a handgun on a roofing crew when debris from a nearby roofing job landed in his swimming pool.

According to the Surrey Leader, the man, who had no criminal record, did not fire the gun and faced charges of pointing a firearm and uttering threats.

Sounds like he could use a hot tub next to that pool for some stress relief.

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