July 14, 2016
For the last activity of our wonderful trip, the entire group made way to Kanaha beach park for a successful morning of windsurfing! The girls impressed the outfitters with their natural ability to balance on their boards and tackle any uneven blue wave that came their way; Caroline was even doing tricks by the end of the lesson! Blair stood up on her first try and determined quickly that she was going to conquer the challenging current of deeper waters and faster winds! Some laughs, falls, and personal record setting rides later we indulged in a much deserved picnic lunch of sandwiches, chips, and fruit! Anna, Georgia, Cate, Hudson, and Lizzie began the tanning trend and parked right in front of the shore break for a relaxing hour of sun and sand! The rest of us that still needed to get some energy out decided to swim to the buoy and back, while Ella and Susan were perfecting their synchronized swimming techniques and providing quite the entertainment for the girls on the beach. Many pictures later, we decided to rinse off and get to our next activity for the day.
Once the group was ready to leave we headed to town to enjoy the local culture of Maui on our “town day.” As a group we walked around and observed the scenery of waterfront shops lining the shore. We made sure not to forget to get souvenirs that will forever remind us of the amazing time we spent together in Maui. While in town, we passed by a gelato shop and couldn’t resist. We all decided it was very necessary to try some new flavors out, considering gelato was one of our most craved indulgences. So, we lined up and got flavors such as Sandy Beach, Dark Chocolate, Mango, and many more! Anna chose the shaved ice path as she discovered it is one of her favorite treats!
We then headed back to camp to make some bagel pizzas for dinner! We started our meal with an appetizer of carrots and hummus to snack on while sitting around the picnic tables together and valuing one another’s company. Once everyone’s stomachs were ready for some pizza, the girls all took turns using the outdoor stove to heat up the bagels for our main course! After dinner we all went to the beach nearest our campsite to watch the picturesque sunset and have our last Moonup. It is amazing how close the group has gotten in the last two weeks and that was very noticeable during our heartfelt Moonup that we all shared. Our time together was reflected on and we all realized how important we are to one another. Many laughs later we went back to camp for the last sleep in our tents that we have all considered home for the past two weeks. After a nighttime concert put on by Blair from inside her tent, we closed our eyes and had many sweet dreams of everything we had accomplished here in Maui!
This morning we woke up, turned some music on, and began cleaning camp. These girls can really make any activity fun because of their positive attitudes and love for being around one another! Susan and Ella were our task managers and made sure that everything that needed to be done got done before we left Maui Prep for good. As a surprise to the girls, we took them to a local restaurant to get some delicious and very photo worthy Acai bowls. Within seconds of receiving them, they were all devoured and raved about. Next up was the very coveted final banquet! We went to a pizza restaurant called Flatbread, in the town of Paia and enjoyed a plethora of pizzas while we reminisced on the memories we had made the past two weeks! We were lucky enough to get a surprise visit from Griff and he was warmly welcomed by the whole group to stay for the duration of the banquet. A sad goodbye later we sent the girls off on their separate ways, which was a very bittersweet feeling for everyone!
We can truly say that we are so thankful for the opportunity that we got to get to know each and every one of these young ladies over the past few weeks! They are all amazing individuals and we know they have such bright futures ahead of them. Their ability to live in the moment and take full advantage of each day we had in Maui was absolutely inspiring. We are so sad to see them go but happy about the friendships and memories that were made together. Many hugs to each of you! We miss you so much already!
Mahalo and until next time!
Meg and Harrison
July 12, 2016
We all got a much needed sleep in after an impressive hiking day before meeting Amy from Hawaii Wildlife Fund. We headed down the road to a beach park near our new campsite for a tasty breakfast and to learn a little more about Hawaii! We then headed down to another fabulous snorkel spot to learn about everything we have been seeing in the water. Georgia perfected her free diving skills and swam down to explore the coral! After getting out we sunned ourselves on the beach for a few minutes and enjoyed the beautiful views. We then headed to another wonderful beach park, where we ate a picnic lunch and discovered exactly how harmful marine debris is to the sea turtle population. Susan came up with the most creative solutions as to how we can limit and minimize our impact on the ocean every day. A quick yoga lesson from Amy had everyone in the park asking us if they could join. Next Uncle Oliver came to speak to the group about the valley he lives and works in. We learned a lot about the ancient Hawaiian culture and how he is doing his part to educate anyone who is interested about it. We headed back to camp to enjoy the dinner provided for us by Uncle’s daughter and watched the sunset at this beautiful campsite! We then finished off the day with a dance party and some group games. Blair was the queen of the veggies winning every vegetable duel. Cate impressed everyone with her best impersonation of corn. After a night full of fun games we concluded with Moonup and much needed rest!
The next morning we woke up and met Amy from the Hawaii Wild Life Fund for a breakfast of biscuits and fruit before our day began. We then headed to Uncle Oliver’s land in a valley where we began clearing out the grass from one of the taro patches. Caroline was exceptionally good at digging the grass out of the mud! Once we were all muddy we went to the waterfall in the stream on his land and washed off before lunch. Blair loved laying on the rock by the stream while everyone swam around her. After a lunch of sandwiches, chips, and fruit we got back to work. Lizzie was a master at ripping down the dead tea leaves from the tree! We then headed back to the taro patches and were welcomed by Uncle’s grandson throwing mud at us… and as you can all assume, a huge mud fight then began! After a twenty minute mud fight we were all covered head to toe on mud! Ella definitely wins the award for being the muddiest! We then headed back to the stream for one more rinse in the stream. Anna and Hudson were the first in showing the group that the cold water wasn’t too bad after all! Then everyone gladly jumped in and let the waterfall rinse the mud out of their hair! Before we left the valley, Uncle let us watch him set the dead tea leaves on fire! We left Uncle’s valley with huge smiles and made sure to say thank you to the land for letting us be there. Amy sent us home with a delicious dinner of rice, chicken, and veggies and we took it to one of our favorite beach parks so we could eat dinner while the sun set.
The next morning, we woke up for our last day with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund. We headed to meet Amy to do some Hawskbill Turtle research. We learned the difference between Hawskbill and Green Sea turtles so that we could correctly identify them in the water, then we dove in and began snorkeling! Group 2 was lucky enough to see a male Green Sea Turtle swim by on their research mission! Georgia was very good at spotting the interesting fish and asking for more questions about them! Both groups got to see a conch shell and star fish which was exciting because those species are very rare to see where we were! As we were heading back to shore we stopped at a tunnel underwater that the whole group was able to swim through! It was great to see the ocean from a slightly different perspective! After a much deserved lunch we went to a beach where Green Sea Turtles are known for crawling up on the beach and resting before getting back in the ocean. Once arriving and getting smoothies from a local smoothie truck, we walked down to the beach and were lucky enough to see 20 turtles resting on the beach! It really was a sight to see. We learned about the turtles from the volunteers and the girls asked so many good questions! We had our last dinner with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund and said our goodbyes to Amy. We headed back to camp and ended our wonderful day with a fun Moonup, where the question was “if you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?” After hearing some thoughtful answers, we all headed to sleep with dreams of Sea Turtles and living in Barcelona one day!
July 10, 2016
We headed early the next morning to meet the Maui Beach Boys to catch some waves in the place that is home to surfing! Everyone grabbed a board after a quick lesson on standing up and surfing etiquette and hit the water. Blair immediately began catching waves by herself like a local! The waves may have been small but everyone made the most of them! Double surfing was a huge hit, Anna and Blair jumped on together and impressed everyone with their ability to stay on the board together. After getting dry and rebraiding our hair (including Drake!) we had a long lunch at the park before having to take Adele to the airport! Today was also laundry day! The laundromat owner was friendly and offered our group ice cream and ramen noodles! We then headed back to camp and Susan choreographed our very own Moondance cheer we spent the entire evening perfecting! Cook crew whipped up some breakfast for dinner and it was a huge hit!
The next morning we headed out again to catch our last day of waves and were not disappointed! The waves were perfect and our guides were equally as fun! Caroline did a headstand on the board while Susan did an expert job filming her! It was a morning that flew by, everyone was sad when our time in the water was up. After surfing we headed out to a beach park in the area to soak up some Hawaiian sun and swim!
This morning we woke up well before the sun and expertly packed up camp before heading up to Haleakela! Everyone sleepily piled into the van and enjoyed a quiet van ride up to the summit of Haleakela, a 10,023 foot crater. Once the sun was up we embarked on our 11 mile hike through the crater. Hudson was leading the group up front through the many different terrains the crater had to offer! Lizzie took up the rear and made sure everyone kept a good pace throughout the day. We had a beautiful picnic lunch and got to enjoy the jaw dropping views. After lunch were the 3 mile switch backs that everyone took by storm! Blair made everyone laugh the whole way up raising everyone’s spirits and leaving them feeling very encouraged! We reached the top and took many pictures while enjoying the view of the 11 miles we just hiked! Georgia and Cate were getting everyone excited by singing every song the girls wanted to listen to in the van when we reached the end! The rewarding feeling that was felt by all the girls when they reached the top will never be forgotten. Everyone was so proud of themselves!
After the hike we went to our new home for the next few days at Maui Prep and put up our tents! The girls impressed us with their quick abilities to put four tents up in the crazy wind! For dinner we went to Maui Tacos, a local Mexican restaurant to reward the group for the amazing job they did today. Ella was a hit at dinner and as she gladly shared her chips and guacamole with her table! So many tacos and burritos were consumed by everyone! After a lovely moon up to close the day run by Caroline and Cate up an incredible day the group headed to bed for some well-deserved sleep.
Susan- Hey Mom and Dad! Having an amazing time, wish you could be here with me!! Miss you lots! We did an 11 mile hike, we snorkeled and surfed! My bucket list is almost complete! Having a ball!! Can’t wait to see you! Xoxo:))
Lizzie- Hey Mom and Dad! Having a lot of fun, miss you both! We have snorkeled and surfed lots! Can’t wait to see you! Love you!
Anna- Hey Mom, Dad and Lizzie! It’s been fun! I’ve been attacked by bugs but they’re all gone now. I’ve been having a great time, you were right about how pretty it is! See you soon! Kisses. Ps- I haven’t gotten a sunburn yet!
Cate- Mommy, Daddy, and lam, Maui is a blast! We have gone on a snorkel tour, surfed and finished our 11 mile hike today! I have made great friends and learned a lot about the beautiful island! Hope Athens is great. I miss you! Love you! Ps- Shaka brah!
Georgia- Hey Mom, Daddy, Tesh! Maui is so much fun, we’ve done a lot of snorkeling and surfing! I got a rash from the surfboard but it’s ok because I shred the gnar. Miss you and can’t wait to see you! Love you to the moon and back 1437. Ps- daddy I got Papas lucky number 7 at dinner tonight!
Caroline- Mom and Dad, I love you and I miss you! I’m having a great time! I love you and I can’t wait to see you soon!
Blair- Hey family, we’re having so much fun in Maui! Hope everything is good in Richmond. Miss you guys so much! Love you! Ps- I walked over 11 miles today
Ella- Hi, miss you even though we are in the same place! Can’t wait to see you, we surfed where you are staying but didn’t see you 🙁 I survived hiking 11 miles today! Bet you can’t do that! Love you! Bye- Lollipop
Hudson- Hey Mom and Dad! I’m having so much fun! We went on a 11 mile hike today and my legs are in a lot of pain but it was totally worth it. Miss you, love you! Ps- I’m not sunburnt!
July 6, 2016
This morning everyone woke up bright and early for our first water activity! We met our kayaking guides for some tandem kayaking on our first snorkeling adventure of the trip! After pairing up and learning the basics we headed out with our guides, Jamie and Matt, in search of sea turtles. Everyone was eager to jump in the water when a turtle surfaced just next to Lizzie and Caroline’s boat! Once in the water it was amazing to see the abundant sea life that is just below the surface in Maui. Hudson spotted a rare sighting of two spotted eagle rays that were gracefully swimming about the reef. We also saw a few more turtles and an octopus on our excursion before Mother Nature decided to spoil the weather. Everyone was feeling a little queasy after some rough seas getting back on dry land so we decided a long beach afternoon was just what we needed! After heading to the airport to pick up Adele, who would be joining us over the next few days, we headed straight to the beach! Some turkey and cheese sandwiches and Hawaiian chips seemed to cure everyone. We spent the rest of the day jumping in waves and enjoying the best of island time. Heading back to camp everyone was sleepy and in a sun daze. The cook crew of Cate, Hudson, and Georgia dished out some chips and salsa for appetizers and chicken, rice, and beans for the main course. We all turned in early in great anticipation of the 4th of July and paddle boarding!
We awoke again early the next day for another packed day in paradise! This morning we met Griff and Michelle for some stand up paddle boarding, along with Griff’s six year old son Summit. With everyone decked in some sort of red, white, or blue we hit the water with perfect paddling conditions. Caroline quickly proved she was a master yogi with an impressive headstand. We all spent the next few hours perfecting our tree pose and searching for more turtles. Ella was able to hold her tree pose the longest out of the group! Summit gained nine new girl friends swimming between everyone’s boards! We then headed along the coast for the King’s Trail that skirts the west coast of Maui along its youngest lava flows! We sat along the shore and enjoyed a picnic lunch before hitting the trail. This terrain was vastly different from anything else we have seen thus far in Maui and was an idyllic scene. After getting all the girls’ hair braided properly Leaders of the Day Cate and Lizzie helped facilitate some trail games learning new facts about all our new friends! We hit the top of the trail on a white rocky beach where we sat and sank in the scene around us. It was overall a breathtaking and peaceful hike to round out a wonderful day of activities. Once back at camp everyone hung around and played lots of card games. Susan stumped everyone with her card tricks and made everyone’s bellies ache from laughing! Cook crew members Anna, Ella, and Blair whipped up sloppy joes and French fries topped off with cookies and ice cream for our own version of a Hawaiian luau. We completed our day with some sparklers to celebrate our country!
This morning we woke up before the sun and headed back down to the water to meet Redline Rafting guides Sean and Chris. We hopped on our boat and set sail for Molokini crater and saw lots of colorful fish! No one hesitated jumping straight in to explore the incredible coral below the surface. Caroline spotted the reef shark as it passed by the edge of the drop off! What a way to end shark week! Next we headed to the back of the crater to hop in what’s called the “elevator” and took in the breathtaking 180 foot views down into the ocean. Next we headed over to turtle town and swam with a group of six playful sea turtles! Finishing off a great morning on the water our group headed back to the beach for a midafternoon siesta. Once we were all sufficiently sandy we changed clothes and headed into town for a surprise! We went to Toby’s in Paia for some shaved ice to complete another block off of everyone’s Hawaiian bucket list.
Now we’re off to hang ten on the water the next few days!
Mahalo nui loa!!
Harrison, Meg, Drake
July 3, 2016
After a long day of flying and many flight delays everyone finally made it to Maui around 9:30! We quickly headed to camp and hopped straight into our sleeping bags for some well deserved sleep.
Jet lag began to sink in as everyone was up very early but we had lots to do on our first morning together! Ella and Susan offered up their superb pancake flipping skills and helped with breakfast! We all sat outside and enjoyed the weather and each other’s company over chocolate chip pancakes and grapes! Local business owner and former Moondance leader Griff Dempsey came to say hello as well. Next everyone headed to the field to play some get to know you games where Anna came out victorious from our first veggie-off!! Georgia helped braid everyone’s hair so we wouldn’t get too much “hat-hair” at our first activity! After lunch we were off to our first activity, zip lining! Once all strapped in we all began flying over the trees enjoying the best of Maui’s views! Hudson volunteered to go first and set the tone for the rest of the group! The rain held off just long enough for us to get to the top of Piiholo Ranch’s top zip line and take in the breathtaking sights of the entire island! Cate bravely stood on the platform at the top of the mountain to take the best pictures of the group despite the wind! Next we headed down to the beach for a refreshing (and chilly!) dip in the ocean to round out our first full day in Maui! Blair gave everyone much needed sand facials in the water! Once back at camp our first cook crew of Lizzie, Blair, and Caroline whipped up chicken and cheese quesadillas that were an immediate crowd pleaser!
Next we are off to the meat of our trip with lots of water activities!!
Harrison, Meg, Drake