Monday, 8 May 2017

Cardiff International Pool - Saturday 7 January 2017

Date: Saturday 7 January 2017
Venue: Cardiff International Pool
Who Went: Just me

Rationale for Trip
For the seventh year running I wanted to start the year with a visit to Cardiff International Pool to enjoy the fun pool and water slides. During Christmas 2016 I set my mind firmly on going to Cardiff International Pool on Saturday 7 January 2017.

Getting to Cardiff
I got up fairly early in order to catch the 08:31 train from Bath Spa to Cardiff Central. Having reached Cardiff Central at 9:45 I had a much-needed regular Americano at Greggs, Wood Street before catching the 10:30 bus from Westgate Street to the Sports Village.

Cardiff International Pool
Cardiff International Pool is located at the Sports Village. I finally left the bus near Cardiff International Pool at 10:46. When I entered the reception shortly afterwards, I found out that the leisure pool was not due to open until 11:00, therefore the receptionist was unable to sell me a ticket until 11:00. Consequently I had to wait until 11:00 to be able to buy my ticket and get changed. Being my eighth visit to-date, the place was already familiar to me.

The leisure pool area has the following features:

Red flume
Starts by taking sliders around a bend to the left, into a clockwise spiral. This is followed by an anticlockwise
spiral, and you land in catch tray. Slow.

Orange flume
This begins with an anticlockwise spiral, followed by a clockwise u-bend, to land in a catch tray. Faster.

Yellow flume
Starts with a bend to the right, into an anticlockwise spiral, and finally a straight drop (fairly steep but not vertical), landing in catch tray. Faster still.

The above three flumes are closed tubes all the way down. They don't have names, unlike the flumes at Splashdown Poole.

Space Bowl (blue)
A short flume takes you round an anticlockwise loop into the space bowl. After whirling around, you fall into a 2.5 metre deep landing pool, which you must swim out of as quickly as possible. For that reason you must be able to swim to be allowed on this.

Children's Play Structure
A multi-level play structure. This includes a short green water slide (closed tube), but that slide is for children only, just like the rest of the play structure.

Leisure Pool
This includes a river run.

There's no roller coaster water slide (as in the Master Blaster at certain other water parks I've visited), but then again, you can't have everything I suppose.

The slides were made by Aqua Leisure International, and commissioned in December 2007. Labels on the catch trays of the red, orange and yellow flumes show the following information:
Red flume: 850 Series Ride A
Orange flume: 850 Series Ride B
Yellow flume: 850 Series Ride C

Session Overview
Having changed I entered the leisure pool around 11:15 and headed straight for the water slides. Due to my desire to have as many goes on those as possible, I spent my entire time queuing for, and sliding them, and didn't go in the pool or river run at all. I began by sliding the red flume, followed by the orange and yellow flumes once each. After that I wanted to go on the space bowl. Just like all my previous visits there, the lifeguard asked me if I can swim before my first go on the space bowl. I told the lifeguard I can swim, and had been on this particular space bowl on previous visits, as well as space bowls elsewhere, so I was allowed to go down it. During my remaining time, I enjoyed sliding the red flume, orange flume, yellow flume and space bowl in sequence another nine times over. The queuing times varied during the time I was in there, but generally they were shorter than on my last visit to Cardiff International Pool in January 2016; hence my higher slide count this time. I finally left the leisure pool around 15:00, and the building about 15 minutes after that.

Summary of my sliding in actual order:
Red flume, Orange flume, Yellow flume and Space bowl in sequence 10 times over.

Cumulative summary of slides:

Red flume
Orange flume
Yellow flume
Space bowl

Mid Afternoon Snack
Once I had left Cardiff International Pool I walked to nearby Morrisons. Around 15:30 I finally reached Morrisons Café where I enjoyed a much-needed pack of four prawn sandwiches, which included a few crisps. I also had a cup of cappuccino.

Remaining Time in Cardiff
At 15:55 I caught the bus from opposite Morrisons to the city centre. Back in the city centre I went to Krispy Kreme in St David's Centre, where I enjoyed a Tiramisu doughnut plus a small Americano coffee. That was my first time of having a doughnut or coffee at a Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee shop for 2017. I also took the opportunity to walk around St David's Centre and Queen Street including some shops.

Journey Home
Around 18:15 I got back to Cardiff Central station and had time to buy myself a small Americano in the station concourse before catching the 18:30 train to Bath Spa. I finally reached Bath at 19:33 and home a few minutes later.


Sliding the red flume, orange flume, yellow flume and space bowl at Cardiff International Pool again.
Good slide count for the typical queue lengths.
Doughnut and coffee at Krispy Kreme, St David's Centre, Cardiff late afternoon.

Not being able to buy my ticket until the leisure pool opened at 11:00.

Summing Up
Altogether a great day out, my first time of going water sliding anywhere for 2017. One annoyance was not being able to buy my leisure pool ticket until the leisure pool opened at 11:00, because I couldn't get changed until after I bought it and I felt that caused me an unnecessary delay in entering the pool. It would have been better if leisure pool visitors could have bought their tickets around 10:50, got changed and thus been ready to use the pool and slides right from the moment the leisure pool opened at 11:00. A member of staff could have stood at access point between the changing room and leisure pool preventing bathers who had changed from entering until the leisure pool was actually open. Thankfully whilst I was in the leisure pool the queues for the water slides at Cardiff International Pool were generally shorter than on my January 2016 visit there, and hence I achieved ten goes on each slide in three and three quarter hours. Furthermore I was better timed with catching direct trains from Bath Spa to Cardiff Central and back this time than in January 2016. Unexpectedly I ended up travelling on the same train (GWR Express Sprinter 158958) from Bath to Cardiff in the morning and back in the evening, what a co-incidence!

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