1. 0.000726 Leagues Under the Pool!

    LIKE YOURS, enormous tracts of the landscape that is my workday is made up of avoiding doing any work at all and looking at those time-sucking websites with a whole grid of fascinating and enriching slideshow-based articles to peruse; i.e., “Ten Scariest Abandoned Scrapbooking Stores,” “Sexiest Waltons Cosplay” and “Ridiculously Adorable Organic Material Stuck to the Undersides of Subway Seats” where you click on a link that brings you to another page of articles in little boxes and then you click on one of them (usually not the one you were originally interested in because it curiously doesn’t exist on this new page). And that brings you to another page which leads you to yet a different website of links and then again to another page and a different site, on and on and on and on, and his father’s father before him.

    One of the things I’ve seen time and time again, and you have, too, probably, is the “World’s Biggest Pool.” And as it will soon enrage you, it enrages me every time I see it. Every time I see it! 

    It’s a magnificent example of how the internet has dumbed down so many who now will believe anything they read and are too lazy to use any critical thinking skills or do any research on their own.

    Those who provide content for these sort of sites ought to be ashamed, is what, for taking the so-called facts concerning this pool at face value without verifying them nor even using reasonable common sense; instead reposting this nonsense everywhere.

    You see, San Alfonso del Mar is a large resort on the coast of Chile. It has a pool in front of it that’s very big.


    The “facts” usually cited are that the pool is 1 kilometer long, covers about 19 acres, holds 66 million gallons of water, and has a maximum depth of 115 feet.

    I don’t have any problem with the first three pieces of data.  It’s the last one – the 115 foot depth – that I call utter hovadina on.

    Let’s take another look at the pool, shall we?


    As you can see, it’s right up against the shore. A child, even a stupid child, who has dug holes in the sand at the beach knows that the deeper you go, the more likely water starts rushing in through the sand. Suddenly, your hole collapses. (Much like after you had that particularly virulent strain of monkey dysenta— Okay, never mind about that.)

    Now imagine digging a hole 115 feet deep this close to the shore. The water table so close to the Pacific Ocean would make this an engineering nightmare! Probably!

    And for what? What exactly would be the purpose in having one end of the pool 115 feet deep? You tell me! For scuba diving perhaps!  To explore what? The featureless cement bottom of a pool?

    Here’s a photo of a few mighty vessels asea, or in this case, apool:


    And another:


    Notice that in each instance, you’re seeing a shadow of roughly the same size just below each of these magnificent crafts. That’s because the shadows are on the pool bottom, I posit, a relatively short distance below.

    Next!  Satellite photo:


    If one end of this pool was 115 feet deep – that’s roughly as deep as a ten story building is tall by the way –  then that area – wherever it is, would be significantly darker than the shallower areas of the pool.  You can see very shallow areas of the pool – presumably wading areas. But nothing very dark.

    Clearly, this pool is not 115 feet deep.

    Therefore, I submit, Your Honor, that this pool is at most 11.5 feet deep, and that somewhere along the way, someone left off the decimal point.

    For the want of a dot on a page, the world’s largest pool has become the world’s deepest pool as well, and if you should go for a dip and your room key slips out of your trunks and sinks to the bottom, well, better call the front desk and see if they can get Ignacio in Maintenance to fire up the bathysphere and retrieve it.

    Yet, I’m a reasonable a man, and I can understand how this misinformation has been repeated ad infinitum across the internet because doing the research on this one is not as easy as one might think.

    I wanted to be able to definitively say “I looked into this, dammit, and the pool is actually eleven and a half feet deep – Ignacio himself told me so!”  so I got in touch with both the resort and the company responsible for building the pool.

    In fact, I contacted them multiple times…but each attempt ended without any answers.


    Crystal Lagoons Corporation LLC is the company responsible for designing and building the pool. They’re headquartered in Chile, but they have phone numbers in New York and Miami. Each time I called, I talked with what I presume is an answering service that couldn’t provide any information, and even though I left my contact information, no one called back.

    I emailed them as well, both at their American and Chilean email addresses. No response! I fared no better contacting the resort itself:  No reply to my emails and surprisingly, whoever answered the phone at this enormous world class resort couldn’t put me in touch with anyone who spoke better English than I speak Spanish. (And despite living where I do, I don’t hablo español muy good-o. Ha!)

    Terrified of high international rates on my next phone bill, and suddenly remembering I write a blog about bad deals in thrift shops and good deals in dollar stores and not some sort of exhaustively researched online reference work, I didn’t call back.

    Lest anyone suggest my assertion that the World’s Biggest Swimming Pool at San Alfonso del Mar is not 115 feet deep without concrete evidence to back it up makes me no better than those awful sites I’m complaining about, it’s not merely Buzzfeed and its countless viral content-peddling clones that are regurgitating the inaccurate depth factoid.

    It’s also good, wholesome, decent sites like  Popular Mechanics, Wikipedia, National Geographic (!) and, dear God above, the one website we all thought we could always count on, Snopes.com.  Oh, Barbara and David Mikkelson, what happened?

    So I say we settle this once and for all. Let’s get some kind of Kickstarter/IndieWhosis thing going to send me on a fact-finding mission down there for a couple of weeks so I can finally get us a definitive answer and put this controversy to rest once and for all. I’ve already got the tape measure and snorkel so don’t worry about that; I just need you folks to come up with airfare (first class, please – I drink a lot) and maybe twenty-five thousand dollars for an ocean-facing suite plus miscellaneous expenses. (Prostitution is legal there!)

    Anyone pledging five grand gets a free postcard from the lobby (contingent on if they have free postcards in the lobby).

    Pledge ten thousand and you get everything from the $5,000 package plus a little bottle of shampoo or a hotel bar of soap or something. I’m rewriting – née correcting – history here, folks, and you can be part of it! Let’s do this!


    Posted by on June 18, 2013, 2:38 AM.

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