June 28, 2016
June 26, 2016
Today we embarked on our service section with lots of enthusiasm! We met Amy and Diana from the Hawaii Wildlife Fund at a beach park close to our new campsite for some breakfast and get to know you games. We spent some time learning more about Hawaii’s eco systems before heading out to a new snorkeling spot to check out fish and look for sea turtles. Alden loved swimming down and taking lots of videos to add to her video diary, especially with the new fish we saw here. We saw the biggest green sea turtle anyone has ever encountered towards the end of our swim! He was very friendly and almost touched Dotsie! After swimming we sat out on the rocks and basked in the sun just like the turtles do. We then headed to our lunch spot at our favorite beach in Kahului. Here we also got to meet Uncle Oliver for the first time, and he began to educate the group on his valley. After a long day, we headed back to camp to eat the dinner prepared by Uncle’s daughter and get some rest.
The next day we woke up and headed to our meeting spot with Amy to grab another bite of breakfast and take a look at the valley we would be heading into for the day. Everyone was excited that we would be having breakfast sandwiches. Rand has been more than pleased getting a bacon egg and cheese sandwich two days in a row! After a quick bite, we hopped in the van and headed into the valley to meet Uncle Oliver. We were unable to get to van into his property because of high water so we walked in with all of our lunch food. Graham, Drew, Hughes, and Rand won the first award of the day for carrying in all the heavy food! Once crossing some swinging suspension bridges, we finally made it to Uncles house where we were quickly put to work!
Everyone hopped into the mud and began weeding the invasive species out of the terraces. While everyone was a little hesitant at first about the mud that quickly changed as we were soon covered in it! Marian was the first to have a mud facial! We spent the next few hours putting the weeds from the field and getting even muddier. Dotsie and Sally S. spent time running the pulled weeds to the compost pile for everyone. Once extremely muddy, we got a break and headed to the river to wash off. Hughes took immediate liking to the water and was the first in and last out. After a much needed wash-off, we headed up for some lunch and talked about the service we had done so far. We then went back out to the taro field to finish what we had started. Margaret began covering everyone with mud and began a trend! Graham then proved she was MVP of the day for running everyone’s pulled weeds to the compost pile, while also managing to get just as muddy as everyone else. Once the field was cleared, we celebrated with some mud relay races where we could not establish a clear winner, as everyone was camouflaged in the mud! After washing off again, we then started cleaning up the tea leaf trees and the boys got their own special assignment from Uncle Oliver. Mary Alston and Sally P were most dedicated in cleaning up the trees and were praised by Amy for their hard work. We finished up our work and headed back to the river for a final shower before saying our final goodbye to Uncle. As a parting gift, Drew was given a red hot pepper to try from Uncle Oliver. It was extra hot!! We finished our day with a dinner at the beach and some great wave jumping! All in all, it was a great day of service.
We woke up for our final day of service and headed back to the south side of the island in search of sea turtles. We had our final morning of yummy breakfast sandwiches and fresh fruit before heading back into the ocean. We learned how to do turtle research while snorkeling and did our part by sweeping the ocean floor looking for Hawksbill sea turtles. Although unsuccessful in finding a Hawksbill, one of the snorkeling groups saw five Green sea turtles!! We then had another fabulous lunch prepared by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund before heading over to another beach to observe a Hawksbill sea turtle nest. After some turtle education, everyone hopped into the waves and enjoyed a swim. To conclude our swimming for the day Amy had the group crawl out of the water like sea turtles when they go to nest! Hughes won the turtle race. We all agreed that the life of a sea turtle is very hard and it is important to protect their species. After drying off, we drove across the island to a special place where Green sea turtles come out of the water to bask in the sun! This beach averages about 20 turtles per day and has seen up to 100 on their beach. We finished off our day by having our final dinner with Amy by the beach.
Now we’re off to our final days of the trip, which we can’t believe! We all can’t wait to see you parents!!
June 23, 2016
Our next adventure up was surfing with the exciting Maui Beach Boys! We paddled out early to catch some waves and learned the basics of surfing like a true Hawaiian! The waves might have been small today but everyone’s attitude made it for another great activity. Drew showed everyone he can hang ten with the best of ’em. Marian rode every wave in with beautiful form! After hanging up our suits for the day the group headed up the mountain for an afternoon lunch and hike. It was a much needed break from the sunshine. Our LODs, Alden and Dotsie, lead the group through the trees on a 6 mile hike to prepare us for our largest hike looming in a few days! Sally S. and Margaret told lots of scary stories on the trail, while Drew and Graham puzzled everyone with their trail riddles! Graham was especially talented at solving the difficult riddles and even requested to hear more! Everyone left the hike with lots of excitement about the new stories we are sure to hear on our hike on Haleakela. We ended our day with some yummy flatbread pizzas made by the wonderful and talented cook crew of Mary Alston, Sally P., Alden, and Margaret.
On day 2 of surfing, the whole group quickly reacquainted themselves with the water and hopped in with high hopes for bigger waves. Our wishes we had sent out to Kanaloa Hawaiian God of the sea were answered! Everyone got up on their boards and rode countless waves in, the girls even rode some in tandem. At the end of our lesson the guides said we were one of the best groups they have ever had! It was a huge compliment to receive as their leaders. We are so impressed with their teamwork and excitement about each and every activity. As a reward, we went back to our favorite beach outside of Kahului and watched the windsurfers and enjoyed a great picnic lunch. Lots of beach selfies were taken by the girls! We then headed over to the laundromat to get some clean clothes to set us into the second half of our trip! As a special treat Meg took everyone to McDonalds for some mcflurrys while our laundry was drying. Once back at camp with a shower and clean clothes we met up with the other Maui group to prepare for our hike the next morning. After deciding to make it to the summit to watch the sunrise, the group began cleaning the camp and packing their bags for the morning! Sally P. and Graham were perfect LODs facilitating the group in repacking bags and going over our packing list with everyone! After a quick moon up everyone hopped into bed to get some much needed sleep before our biggest day yet!
This morning we awoke very early to head up the mountain to see the sunrise at Haleakela before embarking on our 11.5 mile hike! We reached the summit of the mountain by car just in time to watch the sunrise over the crater and utilize our last bathroom stop before dipping into our hike. LODs Rand and Sally S. worked with Griff to choose our route and offered some words of encouragement all day to the group. Hughes was very upbeat and positive about the hike and really motivated the group to start on a good note! Once into the crater we learned more about the geology and history of past eruptions and the Hawaiian folklore surrounding this sacred mountain. Mary Alston provided the group with lots of encouragement through our hard sections and was the well-deserved MVP of the day!
Now we’re off to west Maui to work with some sea turtles and absorb more Hawaiian culture!
-Harrison, Meg, and Drake
June 20, 2016
After a long travel day we all (almost!) arrived in Maui and went to our first campsite for some much deserved pizza and got to know each other a little before jumping into bed. Margaret and Sally S. did an awesome job setting up the tents before the rest of the group showed up.
The next morning we woke everyone up with a warm welcome breakfast of eggs, bacon and English muffin sandwiches! We spent the morning getting to know our home for the next few days and played tons of games! Leaders of the Day Mary Alston and Rand started us off with a fast favorite game of Mafia. Ben took home the prize for best impersonation of a smelly cucumber during the first finals competition veggie off! Next Griff Dempsey, former Moondance leader and local business owner came to share the ins and outs of Maui’s culture and history. After getting a little more comfortable with each other we headed to Piiholo Ranch to do some zip lining! Everyone conquered the 1/2 mile zip line over the gorge without fear and enjoyed the spectacular first views of Maui’s landscape. And we even learned a few new Hawaiian words to add to our repertoire. After zip lining we visited our first white sand beach and explored around to find a sun bathing seal! It was the perfect end to our first full day!
The next morning our LODs Sally S. and Ben woke everyone up to head to our first day on the water! We met Griff to go sea kayaking and snorkeling. After paddling out to a reef we were greeted by our first of many green sea turtle friends! Everyone quickly jumped in the water and started swimming with the abundant sea life and learned some new snorkeling tricks! Graham showed off her skills diving down to swim with many of the turtles we saw! The highlight of everyone’s day was the five playful sea turtles we encountered while snorkeling, getting everyone excited for our service section. After snorkeling we headed to a black sand beach for a much deserved lunch. While drake headed to the airport to pick up our final member, Hughes, the rest of the group headed into the Iao valley, one of the wettest places in the world, to explore a new side of the island. We picked up Hughes from the airport and it was like he had been here all along! His great musical choices proved very popular among the entire group. Once back at camp we began a fierce game of wiffle ball where Sally S. won the game for the girls!
Next up we headed down to Kahului for some windsurfing! Everyone jumped in and was quickly considered naturals by our guides! Ben and Rand showed all of us up and we almost convinced them to enter the windsurfing competition that took place later that day! We ate lunch on the beach and enjoyed the stellar views of Maui. After a quick siesta on the beach and many scary stories told by Dotsie, we headed back up the mountain for a hike to a waterfall and some fairy-like caves! LODs Drew and Marian led the group through the trail and conquered the switchbacks with excitement! To close an action packed day cook crew fixed up some pancakes. Alden showed everyone she is our top chef in the kitchen with skillful pancake flipping.
Today we woke up well before the sun and headed out to Molokini crater for our second try at snorkeling! It was some of the clearest water and we saw some eels and lots of colorful fish! Sally P was the first one in the water and the last out today! Between windsurfing and snorkeling we think she might be our first student to become a mermaid! We spent the rest of our day relaxing on the beach enjoying some island time and a surprise ice cream visit into town!!
We all wanted to say happy Father’s Day to our dads!! We miss you!
Sally P. – ILY Dad. I haven’t written in my journal yet but I will! Peace and blessing. Love, your favorite child!
Mary Alston- Happy Father’s Day dad! I haven’t been eaten by a shark yet! We had a great day, love and miss you! See you soon! Love you too mom!
Drew- Happy Father’s Day dad! Have the best day ever, love you Drew.
Rand- Happy Father’s Day! I love y’all
Dotsie- happy Father’s Day daddy! Have fun at St. Barth’s take care of mommy! Love you!
Marian- Happy Father’s Day dad! I love you, don’t let mom go too crazy from missing me! Love y’all!
Sally S.- Happy Father’s Day! Love and miss y’all!
Ben- Hey Mom and Dad, love y’all! See y’all soon!
Margaret- Happy Father’s Day! I love you, have fun in New York! I hope camp drop off went well!
Graham- Happy Father’s Day! I love you so much you’re the best dad I could ever ask for! See y’all soon!
Hughes- Happy Father’s Day! Love you so much, hope Turner and Mac had a good drop off! See y’all soon!
Alden- Happy Father’s Day! Love you and miss y’all!
Harrison, Meg, Drake!!