July 31, 2016
This morning we awoke to sunny, warm skies for our last full day in Maui! We hopped in the car and headed into Kahului for our next activity of windsurfing! Everyone was a little apprehensive before jumping in the water knowing this is a challenging skill to learn. Once learning a few basics the group out their boards in the water and gave it a try! Chandler was one of the first to head out into the cove. Others quickly followed suit and learned how to properly catch wind in their sails. Grace and Thomas were well respected amongst the instructors for their dedication to learning this awesome sport! Watching everyone start to build upon their budding talents! After lots of hard work everyone was treated with town day! We headed back to Lahaina to hit up some surf shops and gelato. Everyone got some goodies for loved ones back home and a few treats for themselves. Caitlyn loved getting to explore the surf shops of town! Once spending some big bucks the group headed to the thrift store to deck themselves in Hawaiian garb for banquet! Camryn won the award for best tourist costume! Connor was all around best dressed in his mumu dress! We consumed more pizza than all of our body weight combined and we’re all in a food coma on the way back to camp. It was a great last full day in Maui, moon up was especially sentimental on our final night together! Final nugs were awarded and last moments shared under the moonlight.
We were up with the sun rise for our final morning activity while in Maui. We are a yummy breakfast with cinnamon rolls before heading to meet Griff and Aloha Kayaks for some stand up paddle boarding. Tommy provided endless entertainment for the group jumping on and off his board. Thomas and Carter won the doubles board race! Out of nowhere Hannah from Hawaii Wildlife Fund popped out of the water in her snorkel gear! It was a fun surprise for the group! We all soaked up the last rays of sun before heading in to get cleaned up for the airport. Once getting changed we headed up to Montessori school to clean the van and spend out last moments where our trip began! Lawton did an amazing job helping facilitate can clean out. Alice and Anne Catherine helped Harrison vacuum out the rest of the van. Once everything was clean and Moondance t-shirts distributed we hopped in the van and made a sad drive down to the airport. One highlight was seeing a rainbow out of our rear view mirror as a final goodbye to this magical paradise! We have had such a blast this summer and cannot believe how fast our two weeks went by with this group! We will miss everyone so dearly!
A hui ho! Mahalo!
Meg, Harrison, and Sam
July 29, 2016
We headed out early to meet up with Griff from Aloha Kayaks Maui for our sea kayaking and snorkel lesson! Everyone paired up in the tandem kayaks and carried the boats down. Once out on the water the group made its way up Makena coast. We dropped anchor and hopped in the water in search of more turtles! Once again Grace showed off her amazing free diving skills. Tommy was the first to spot a turtle swimming in the shallow reef. Griff and Michele from Aloha Kayaks helped to educate the group on the Hawaiian sea life and the island itself! After a long paddle back to shore everyone enjoyed a quick shower and change of clothes to be off on our next adventure! We headed into west Maui into the Iao Valley to explore another ecosystem of the island! After a beautiful journey beneath the trees we happened upon a small swimming hole! Connor was the first in and enjoyed himself a photo shoot with the girls in the stream! After a muddy walk back we made our way back to camp. Cook crew whipped up another amazing meal of Mac and cheese.
The next morning we had a slow start and made a yummy breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. Next we headed into town to do some much needed laundry!! Some clean clothes and McFlurrys and everyone was in a great mood! We headed back to camp because of the impending tropical storm conditions and played games and hung out with the other Maui group who came to ride out the storm with us. We all enjoyed a pizza dinner and some cake for the other leader Kienne’s birthday!
We awoke the next day to overcast skies and some rainy weather but that didn’t stop us from having a wonderful day. French toast and bacon were prepared by the cook crew of Grace and Ann Catherine. We then hung out at camp and played many fun games! Connor and Camryn were not messing around during look up, look down, and made it all the way to the final round! In the end, Connor won the veggie off with his hilarious impression of a tacky cucumber! We then had a great time playing our groups favorite game, psychiatrist, with Maui B. It is really amazing how these students can be put in any situation and have fun with it! That afternoon we went to the aquarium to learn more about the many fish we had been seeing in the ocean while snorkeling! From sharks to jellyfish, the students learned a great amount about marine life! It was a great way to get up close and personal with the fish we have been seeing during our snorkeling. Chandler loved the fish and bought a sea turtle stuffed animal. After we headed into Paia to Flatbread pizza company for a mid trip celebratory meal and some gelato! Grace, Thomas, and Caitlyn joined the leader table and had some great laughs! It was the perfect way to end the day!
The next morning we awoke early to begin our service section with Hawaii Wildlife Fund. We met Amy, Hannah, and Nina and got to know one another and learned more about this special island. After a yummy breakfast provided to us we strapped on snorkel gear and jumped in the water. Everyone was excited because it had been a few days since we had been in the water! Immediately we began seeing lots of sea urchins and even a turtle basking on a hidden beach! Alice got some of the best turtle footage of anyone all summer! Tommy helped figure out lots of the new sea life they were asking us about. Once sincerely tuckered out from swimming we went over all of the fish we saw and what their purpose is with in the reef. We also went to watch three turtles who were basking on a nearby beach, it was a special moment to watch. Next everyone piled in the van to head to Kahana beach park where we learned the importance of keeping our beaches clean and minimizing our use of plastics. Thomas collected the most marine debris and Connor collected the most interesting thing: a tennis ball. We took a refreshing dip in the ocean before meeting Uncle Oliver for the first time. He came to speak with the group about the importance of the service work we would be doing for him. To end the day we enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by Hawaii Wildlife Fund for dinner at our new campsite!
We got up and hopped straight in the car to meet Hawaii Wildlife Fund in Kahakaloa valley for a breakfast with a view. We learned about the importance of going into the valley with “pono” or good intentions. Once acquainted with the area we drove down and met Uncle Oliver at the base of his property. Grabbing all our gear we hiked back into his land crossing streams and over bridges! Walking back into his remote land it felt very special and the group quickly acknowledged the importance of what today would be. Immediately upon crossing our last river Uncle Oliver instructed us to hop on in the river and cool off! We split into groups and began working! From clearing invasive species on an 800 year old wall to preparing taro fields for planting everyone worked so hard to get their jobs done! Lawton did a great job at staying enthusiastic while working in the taro fields! Tommy and Thomas became master sickle men! The sweet pepper eating challenge had everyone’s eyes watering. After lots of work and some cooling off in the river we gave a big a hui ho to Uncle Oliver before departing. We enjoyed dinner back at camp and finished the day off with moon up on the beach.
Today we woke up and headed to Ulua beach to do some turtle research! We put our snorkel masks and fins on and jumped right into the water to observe the pattern of the Sea Turtles. We did not see any Hawksbill Sea Turtles but we were lucky enough to see 12 Green Sea Turtles feeding on the algae on a few rocks near shore! After our 11 newest turtle researches completed their morning research, we set up a picnic lunch and enjoyed sandwiches and fruit! We then headed to another beach park where we played a game that thought everyone how truly endangered the turtles are. I think everyone gained a new sense of appreciation for the creatures that quickly became our friends when encountering them in the water. Next we went to yet another beach, but this one was particularly special. This beach is known for Sea Turtles basking for over 24 hours to get some rest before they go back into the ocean. We saw 5 turtles catching some Z’s. They are just as amazing to see on land as they are on water! We finished up the day with a dinner on the beach and said goodbye’s to the amazing women of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund that we worked with. An amazing day ended with a moonup under the stars together! Everyone went to sleep excited to windsurf the next morning!
Meg, Harrison, and Sam
July 24, 2016
After getting acquainted after a long day of travels, our group woke up early to hit Kalama Beach Park and meet the Maui Beach Boys for a morning full of surfing. After learning the ropes, we got in the water to catch some waves. This was an amazing way to start off the trip getting to soak in Maui’s beautiful beaches while learning to master a local tradition. Smiles were rampant and we got our first glimpse of some sea turtles! AC and Alice provided some entertainment for the group challenging themselves to catch a wave together, known as a tandem surf. They rode the wave all the way into the beach as the rest of the group cheered them on. Everyone caught a wave and ended up standing up by themselves, a fantastic accomplishment because it’s not as easy as our instructors made it look. The group rallied around Caitlyn because she had never attempted to surf before and after some initial struggles she showed some serious perseverance and achieved her goal of riding a wave all the way in! After exhausting our arms from paddling, surfing came to a close and we set up a picnic along the beach for our first lunch together. Tommy provided some hilarious laughs for the group as his energy was unmatched, running between the playground and ocean. We sat and enjoyed a lazy lunch getting to know each other better and the amazing vistas of the Maui coastline.
After lunch we headed for another beach in Kihei. With sun and spirits high we got to the beach and did not hesitate to jump right into the water! Minutes after diving in Alice pointed out a very large Sea Turtle that the whole group ended up following along the shore to get some perspective on the life of a turtle! Tommy, Thomas, and Connor gladly taught everyone how to correctly body surf and how to choose the right waves. After a short lesson the whole group was gliding into shore full of laughs and smiles! Everyone was having so much fun playing in the waves and joking around with each other, no one wanted to leave the beach!
We headed back to camp once everyone got their fix of the beach. At camp we hung out in our Eno’s and continued to get to know each other. Playing games and sharing stories never stops providing enjoyment for the group! It is really amazing how close we have all gotten in just a few short days! Then, cook crew that consisted of, AC, Thomas, Caitlyn, and Chandler, whipped up a phenomenal batch of meat sauce and spaghetti! Once the very well prepared meal was ready to eat, we all had a family dinner and sat around the picnic tables loving each other’s company.
Stomachs were full and the crew was ready for some well deserved rest so we headed for a lovely spot on the field under the stars to have moonup. LOD’s Grace and Thomas led moonup with an exciting “nug jug” and very thought provoking question. The group has loved ending their day together reflecting on what happened and sharing stories about their lives with one another.
Today is day two of surfing!! Everyone gladly woke up with the sun as they were all so excited to get back in the water and ride the waves! Eagerly grabbing their boards, they stormed into the water and caught many waves as if they had been surfing for years. The instructors were so impressed with their talents, that they took us out a bit deeper to catch the bigger waves. To nobody’s surprise, everyone got up and still rode the waves all the way to the beach. AC continued to impress everyone with her tandem surfing, this time doing it with Carter, Lawton, and Chandler as well. Thomas sure had his work cut out for him considering he rode the waves further than anyone else and was then forced to paddle all the way back out to where the rest of the group was! Yet, he did it with nothing but smiles and a positive attitude. Once the lesson was over everyone was sad they had to get out of the water because they loved the time they had learning how to surf. We said our goodbye’s to our amazing outfitters, the Maui Beach Boys, then we grabbed our cooler and had another picnic lunch as a group. Again, Tommy provided much entertainment for the group as he gladly, fully clothed, jumped into the water after losing what are the odds. His energy was contagious and it noticeably spread its way through the entire group! Lunch was consumed and we headed to an amazing hike that was along the ocean the entire way. We made sure to stop at as many places as possible to capture the awe-inspiring views that left us all speechless. We got to the end of the hike which was a white rock beach and we sat for a while to relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean and each other’s voices before beginning our trek back. Connor particularly enjoyed exploring the unique spots of the hike such as, a blow hole and the many small ponds of water along the way. Happily taking in the views we hiked back to the van and drove back to camp. The van ride consisted one an “oldies but goodies” playlist that the whole crew enjoyed! Cook crew tonight was, Alice, Connor, Lawton, and Camryn whipped up back country pizzas. Everyone loved them so much that we all ate three or four of them, leaving everyone full and ready for some sleep. An amazing day ended and the group slept with dreams of their future as pro surfers.
This morning we had a very early wake up, but no one was upset about it because we got to go on our red line rafting snorkel boat tour! The tour began at Molokini Crater, which is some of the most beautiful snorkeling in the world. The waves were a little choppier than usual, but that did not stop anyone from diving in and checking out the plethora of marine life that live below the ocean. Caitlyn was especially excited about all the different species of fish we were able to see in just one day! From eels, to fish in the surgeon fish family, and many more sea turtles, we saw it all. Next we headed to another spot called ‘the elevator’ where we hopped in and could see up to 120 feet below us. After boating around the Maui coastline and listening to some good tunes we hit up the Makena coastline, aka Turtle Town. From the minute we got in the turtles surrounded us. In total we saw five turtles and lots of other sea life. Tommy got a unique turtle selfie and took some amazing photos of Carter swimming along side of the turtles. Once receiving the five star lunch from our guides we headed back to the harbor and thanked our guides for a one of a kind day. We hit the beach that afternoon for some big wave jumping and sun soaking. All in all it was a great day!
July 20, 2016
Opening day! Around 1 pm the first of our group began to arrive with Caitlyn being the first! We played lots of games and got to know everyone as they trickled in. Alice gave us a quick glimpse of what it is like to be a competitive Irish dancer! Once a few had arrived we headed up to camp and took in the breathtaking views of our campsite for the next week. We learned the ins and outs of setting up the tents that would become our homes for the next two weeks. After some yummy pizza the first group hit the hay early feeling the jet lag set in. Meanwhile the next group flew in with Meg and hopped straight in the van and headed up to camp. Once finishing up the last of the pizza we all headed to bed after a long, exhausting travel day.
This morning we woke up early due to the expected jet lag. We all wandered out of our tents and spent the early morning getting to know one another. Camryn had the great idea of playing two truths and a lie to break the ice. We continued to enjoy the company of one another then headed to the kitchen to start cooking breakfast. This morning’s breakfast was a delicious batch of chocolate chip pancakes and bananas! We all sat in a circle and talked about what we are most excited about for our time here in Maui. Connor answered for everyone being excited for everything we were going to do! Once breakfast was devoured, Griff Dempsey, Moondance employee and local business owner came to camp to give us a history lesson of Maui. We learned everything from when the island was formed to the culture of the local Hawaiians. He then got us excited for Sea Kayaking and Stand up Paddle boarding as we will be embarking on those adventures with Aloha Kayaks Maui, his company!
Next up, zip lining!! We grabbed sandwiches for lunch then left camp to head to our first activity of zip lining! The tour included five different lines, the last one being a half mile long! Tommy was known for his very unique screams that he let out while flying down all the lines! Grace trusted Sam with her go pro and ended up with some very entertaining videos! The tour took us over the gulches in Maui, which left us with a spectacular birds eye view of the island. Anne Catherine and Lawton made their presence known to the wildlife from their shrieking down each line! We saw many animals and made sure to throw up some shaka’s while passing by! It is interesting to see Maui from a different perspective while being high in the sky on the zip line! Once we completed the tour, we headed to Nonohe beach for our first dip in the ocean! Chandler spotted the first of two different sea turtles within our first five minutes of being there! They were there to welcome the group Maui!
We headed back to camp because everyone was getting hungry for some dinner! Grace, Carter, and Tommy were the first cook crew and did an amazing job making some delicious chicken and cheese quesadillas! Once everyone’s stomachs were full we had our first moonup! We were very impressed with how thoughtful everyone’s answers were to the question during moonup tonight and we were amazed at how close the group had already gotten to each other in just one day. Once we completed moonup and chose Grace and Thomas to be our Leaders of the Day for tomorrow, we got some well-deserved sleep and excitement for our next few days of surfing! Shaka!
Harrison, Sam, Meg