July 1, 2016
Our time in Kauai so far has been phenomenal! Our campsite is right on the beach and our activities have been so much fun. On our first full day here, we volunteered with the Waipa Foundation across the street from our campsite. The Waipa Foundation works hard in the community to encourage local plant production, restore stream ecosystems, and re-introduce native plant species to the 1,600 acres of land they manage. During their community work day, we planted more than 60 local tree species near a stream in the valley.
Along the way, Rob and Spoon made the whole group laugh when they started slipping and sliding down the hills on the trail and got covered from head to toe in wet mud. For lunch, the staff at Waipa graciously made us a delicious lunch solely using food from their gardens. In the afternoon, MK and Caroline worked hard cleaning all the tools we had used in the morning. The next morning, we all did a high ropes course. Shout out to Anna Houser for conquering her nerves about height! She completed every task confidently and with a huge smile on her face.
In the afternoon, we explored a popular swimming hole along the ocean shore. Though both Kirby and Anna A. got knocked down a time or two from the waves washing over the rocks, they had a great attitudes about it and we all loved filling our free afternoon with the adventure! The next day marked the start of our surfing lessons. As a Leader of the Day, Davis conquered the early morning waves. We all had a blast learning how to stand up and ride the waves into the shore. Shout out to Natalie for standing on her board and making it all the way to the shore on her first try! In the afternoon, we went outrigger canoeing in Hanalei Bay. We owe a big thank you to Caroline and Anna H. for keeping our paddle strokes in sync the entire afternoon! Before dinner, Alfred explored different beaches with the boys while Noni and Katie took the girls to town for a relaxing afternoon of shaved ice and funny stories. Today we concluded our surfing lessons in the morning and did more community service with Waipa in the afternoon. Surfing was so much fun – some of us even got some tricks down before lunch! In the afternoon, Madeline worked hard to restore native plant species and remove invasive species. Her positive attitude was contagious and helped the whole group work hard together. At the end of our service, Tyree and Rob initiated a 14-person mud fight in the forest. After we were all absolutely covered in mud, we sprinted across the street and straight into the ocean where we hung out until the sun went down. We treated ourselves to breakfast for dinner followed by an ice cream dance party on the beach before Moonup together under the stars. We’re all looking forward to kayaking the Wailua River tomorrow! More to come soon 🙂
June 26, 2016
I can’t believe we’re already halfway through this incredible trip. We have had a great time together since finishing our SCUBA section. Our 7th day started with a beautiful hike in the Pololu Valley on the other side of the Big Island. The black sand beach, Tyree’s contagious cheerfulness, secluded lunch spot, and magnificent view made for a great journey. Afterwards, we found a great local food truck and enjoyed fresh coconut water and smoothies. That night, Anna Houser wowed us all with her bedtime serenades in the pavilion on our campground. On the 8th day, we drove to Volcanoes National Park! Shout out to Kirby and Madeline for belting all the lyrics to songs in the long van ride. We spent the afternoon exploring our new campground and the trails through the volcano. On the crater rim trail, we all laughed at Caroline when she lost a bet and had to pretend to chase after an old man jogging.
Back at the campsite, we all played games while MK whipped up delicious pancakes and bacon for our dinner. The next day, we volunteered with an organization called Project Hawaii that helps homeless children find food and stay in school. We stood on the streets holding signs and encouraging locals to donate to Project Hawaii’s summer camp. We raised $2,000 in just one day! Cheers to Spoon and Anna Allen’s determination on the street – they raked in a lot of money on their own. During our second day of volunteering with Project Hawaii yesterday, we played on the beach with several homeless children while their parents signed them up for the summer camp. Davis and Rob quickly got the kids’ attention with volleyball games and dolphin rides. Natalie’s obsession with all things animal, particularly dogs, blossomed during our time at the beach as she walked/ran towards every dog she saw. Last night we drove to a spot to see the orange glow from lava coming from the volcano and were able to see Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in the sky! Today has been a long day of travel, but we are safe and sound at our new beach campsite in Kauai and can’t wait to explore the island tomorrow.
Shoutouts to come!
June 20, 2016
Wow- It’s been an amazing first four days in Hawaii!
When we arrived at our beach campground after picking up everyone from the airport, MK was quick to lend a helping hand as we all set up our tents in the powerful winds. We woke up early the next morning to begin our 5 day SCUBA diving adventure! We spent the first full day in the classroom and the pool practicing our diving skills with our instructors. When we returned to our campground, Rob, Madeline, and Anna H. made a great Mexican meal for our first dinner all together. We spent the second day mastering more skills in the pool but the small space didn’t stop us from having fun! Kirby and Alfred quickly became hilarious sources of entertainment during our pool training. That night, we got pizza at a local restaurant and ate it on the grass by the beach. During dinner, Caroline and Madeline impressed us all with their interpretation of “The Story Game”. They have some huge imaginations, to say the least. After dinner we went on a nighttime manta ray snorkeling trip. Despite not seeing any manta rays during the snorkel, Rob and Natalie lead us in a fun and uplifting Moonup to wrap up the day’s events. On the third day, we completed our first shore dive. We saw beautiful fish and coral in the water and enjoyed Spoon’s and Davis’ delicious chicken pesto pasta after a long day underwater. Yesterday, we enjoyed a whole day on the boat with two open water dives. All fourteen of us became officially SCUBA certified during our afternoon dive! After enjoying some ice cream in town to celebrate, Tyree and Anna Allen grilled burgers, hot dogs and s’mores for us to enjoy under the full moon’s glow. Today we enjoyed a full day as certified divers and saw octopus, Tiger shark, dolphins, eels, and more! Cheers to Madeline for being the most enthusiastic about seeing fish during the dives (she gave most of the fish their own names). Though we’re tired from all the diving, we’re about to scope out a nearby beach before the sun goes down! We’re all looking forward to starting the next section with some hiking and community service. Everyone sends their love and says Happy Father’s Day to their dads on this special weekend! More to come soon!
-Noni, Katie, and Alfred