Since I was perhaps nine years old I have had a vivid memory of the most incredible pool I have ever visited. In my memory this pool opens up at one end to a dark water slide. I can hear the rush of the water as it begins to turn into a water fall beyond where I can see. The water slide pours out into a slow river that slithers through a jungle and giant stone lizards peer down at me as I float under rope bridges and past yawing caves. All around me brilliant mosaics of sea turtles and mahi are set into the bottom of sapphire pools and shimmer up from below the lapping water. I can remember winding the film reel on my waterproof Kodak (my pride and joy at 9 yrs old) and trying to dive down deep enough to take pictures of the tiled sea life set on the bottom of the pool.
In the memory, the pool was a magical place with hidden hot springs steaming at the peak of small volcanoes and with rope swings and sandy beaches.
“Over the years I even began to think that perhaps the pool was a fantasy. After all I couldn’t even remember where I was when I visited it.”
This is burned into my mind. Now that I’m 30 I know how childhood memories can distort like a water stained picture left in the flooded basement, becoming grander than the reality we see as adults. Over the years, I even began to think that perhaps the pool was a fantasy. After all, I couldn’t remember where I was when I visited it. I used to tell Tawny about sliding down lava tubes and riding a giant inner tube up the caldera of a volcano as it filled with water. She approached these memories with an acceptable level of skepticism.
Two years ago, we were invited to come stay at the Grand Wailea on Maui. The property is so intricately designed and thoughtfully laid out that you feel like you’re entering a dream or a work of art. The resort begins with a waterfall as you pull up and a massive statue of King Kamehameha, spear in hand. As you enter the massive open air complex you are surrounded by water and a lush jungle. The sky pours into the courtyard and bronze figures of Hawaiians blend with the shadows. The real magic for me though began when we turned the corner and saw the pool.
As we came over a small river studded with languid koi, the pool began to take shape. It was instantly as if 20 some years melted away like cotton candy in the rain. It was all there. The river, the bridge, the pools, the mosaics. Not as I had remembered them. They were even grander.
As it turns out, my mom had brought me here over two decades ago for a medical conference she was attending. The pool was as real as I had imagined it.
*Be sure to click and drag the photo for full 360 experience!
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
You can start at pool #1 and take a series of slides down to the main pool. Through rapids and winding rivers, all along jungles and past caves and grottos. Better yet, the grotto has a full bar in it! Something I had completely missed as a child. The thing that truly blows my mind is the water elevator. Yes. A water elevator. The world’s first. There is a small silver door at the base of a two story volcano. When the keeper of the door waves you in, you swim into the opening and find yourself in the center of a volcano with a massive inner tube inside that has seats on it. Find a spot and take a seat as the volcano starts filling with water. In the course of about 5 minutes the whole caldera fills up and you can swim out at the upper most pool. In essence, you could go from top to bottom of the pool all day and never leave the water. Trust me, I know. I’ve done it.
My favorite thing to do is to get a floaty ring and drift along the lazy rivers all day long, stopping only to pick up a pina colada or to hit up one of the seven water slides.
I could honestly spend an entire day in this pool. The part that excites me the most is the thought of our own little baby on the way. (Tawny did want me to mention a special disclaimer that she is in fact six months pregnant in the video.) Here I am, thirty years old, and I am instantly transported back to childlike wonder and elation the moment this pool comes back into view. It’s like meeting an imaginary friend in real life, or finding out that magic is real. That is a gift that I cannot wait to give to our own little man soon.
The Following video is shot in 360. Please make sure to use a compatible browser. *It should NOT look like a wide squishy panorama. It should move when you move your smart phone or use the toggles on your video screen.