July 13, 2017
Aloha from Hilo!
Since we last updated you all, we drove to our new campsite in Volcanoes National Park and after unpacking and setting up tents, Abbie showed off her soccer skills at the new site, teaching a few of us how to do some. Bee and Olivia headed up our games and taught everyone how to play sardines. Danny and Boote kept the group in hysterics over their wild dance moves and animal impersonations. That night we drove up to Kalopa state recreation area where Project Hawaii holds their summer camp. The students had the opportunity to meet and play with the local keiki. Luisa took home the gold (and almost a few kids too) with her amazing kid skills during the girls Glamour Night, where the girls dressed up like princesses. The next morning we woke up early to go explore Volcanoes National Park, we watched from the observatory as billowing white smoke rose from the crater, we also walked through a lava tube. Later that day we went downtown to raise money for the keiki campers that we played with the night before. The groups paired up and hit the streets, Sophie and Sam made an excellent duo as they exceeded their own personal goal of $150. Ian, Bella, and McCall kept the groups spirits high with their never-ending dance moves during our service project, Abigail even did some cartwheels! We ended up surpassing our group goal of $1,000! We can’t believe that our time with this group has come to an end and are thrilled to have ended our trip on such a positive note. It’s been a privilege to see these beautiful islands with your kids and I know they’ll have plenty of tales to tell you all back at home.
Julianne, LK, and James
July 11, 2017
Aloha from your newest certified SCUBA divers!!!
Over the past 4 days we have been working on our SCUBA skills and enjoying exploring the town and secret beaches of Kona. The first two days, our SCUBA kids took their first dives in the Jack’s Diving Locker pool. The pool is perfect for learning with its 12-foot deep end that has an observation window for those watching our newest mermaids and men.
During these early days, Sam and Luisa went with LK to a seahorse farm where they got to tour the facility and see the many different species. They even got to hold a seahorse and it wrapped its tail around their fingers!
On SCUBA Day 3, we had our first salt water dive where we walked in from the shore. We saw hundreds of beautiful, colorful fish and even a few spotted eels! Our first taste of SCUBA left all extremely excited for our boat dives to come. After the dive, we walked over to the Kona Mango Festival where everyone feasted on some shaved ice and local fruit.
Yesterday, we had our boat dives. At our first dive site, with a max depth of 50 feet, we saw 2 octopi, an eagle ray, and even a small reef shark! Our second dive site was comparable to a fish tank- thousands of tiny colorful fish and coral, archways, and super clear water. Bee, Sophie, and Ian’s dive group swam through the archways and we got some amazing underwater shots! Our dives unfortunately had to end, but our sweet beach babe Olivia stayed in the water and joined Luisa for a snorkel until the last moments of our day. We finished with a hot water shower on the boat, belting out the lines to “Knee Deep” by Zac Brown on the way back to the marina. We had the sun in our faces and wind in our hair- a wonderful way to end an unforgettable day.
Back at camp, Boote continued to dominate everyone in cards. Bella, who never ceases to offer her help, has been our nurse each night making sure everyone gets their ear drops after being in the ocean. Before Moonup, our creative kids helped capture an amazing photo of the full moon, with Abbie lighting up the tents for some spectacular contrast. Danny and McCall, our Leaders of the Day yesterday, gave everyone the warm fuzzies by asking the Moonup question, “What is one word to describe each person in the group?” We then took turns going around the circle and shouting out words that describe each other- we were all touched by the kind words that spoken so genuinely and with love.
We awoke this morning on our lovely black sand beach. Our adventurous girls found a large tide pool and discovered a sea turtle within! Our budding videographer Abigail even captured some super cool underwater footage of the moment.
We can’t believe we only have 1 full day left! This group has been phenomenal and their EB (expedition behavior) has been out of this world. Helping hands are found everywhere we look and we couldn’t have asked for a more cohesive crew!
-LK, Julianne, and James
July 6, 2017
Aloha from Hawaiian Islands 2!
On the 3rd we woke up bright and early to prepare for a full day of kayaking. Hayes Hitchens, Moondance founder and CEO, met us on the beach that morning – what a treat! Throughout our paddle, Danny and Ian kept the group in high spirits with their dry humor and jokes. Though we didn’t see a T-Rex (Jurassic Park scenes were filmed here), we were lucky enough to see 4 sea turtles and a Hawaiian Monk Seal! The skies were clear and the wind was in our favor. We could not have asked for a more stunning day! After a few flips or “hoolies” as the Hawaiian say, Danny and Bella made a comeback finishing strong and beating everyone to the beach. 10 hours later we had conquered all 17 miles of the beautiful Na Pali Coast.
On the 4th, we had a great day of community service at Waipa, where we have been camping on Kauai. Waipa is a sustainable farm helping to provide for the surrounding community through nutrition and educational programs. We started the morning helping them process taro to make poi, a staple starchy meal in Hawaii. Afterwards we headed out to the fields to do some weeding to help promote tree and crop growth around Waipa. Luisa did a great job of helping everyone out by collecting our pulled weeds and taking them to the compost pile before we could even ask. It was a long day in the heat, but Sophie and Sam’s extreme positivity, combined with Bee and McCall’s energy and hard work ethic, we pushed through!
For dinner, Ian and Olivia whipped us up some phenomenal BBQ chicken sandwiches with baked beans and cole slaw. The delicious comfort food, along with festive sparklers, was a great way to finish off a fun filled 4th of July.
Today we arrived on the Big Island!! We hated to leave beautiful Kauai behind us, but we know many exciting adventures lie ahead of us! During our day of travel, we had a nice relaxing day and everyone was on point. Boote heroically volunteered to carry extra gear to help cut down checked baggage weight, while Abbie volunteered to load up her light duffel with group gear. For dinner, our Leaders of the Day, Abigail and Bee, cooked a wonderful meal of veggie alfredo pasta. After licking our plates clean, our bellies are full and ready for tomorrow’s hike!
Bella: Hey Mom, Dad, Gannon, and Daniel! Miss you guys so so much and can’t wait to see you guys soon. The trip is amazing and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it. Love you guys so much.
Sophie: Hi Mom and Dad! I miss and love you! Hope everyone is doing well and that Nan is having fun. Hawaii is amazing and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Love y’all.
Sam: Hi Mom, Jeff, Sophie, Owen, Woody, etc. I miss you all so much! But I hope you’re all doing well, I sure am!
McCall: Hey Mom and Dad! This might be my favorite trip I have ever taken! I am having a complete blast and absolutely love everyone on my trip. Miss y’all but don’t want to come home. Happy birthday Mom!! Love you both!
Abbie B: Hey Mom, Dad, and Ash! I miss y’all so much. It’s gorgeous here. Just by the way the patch and medicine we got for me works! I didn’t feel nauseous on a 17-mile kayak around the island. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHLEY!
Luisa: Hey Mich and Susie! Hawaii is so great! We’ve been surfing and going to the most amazing beaches and the other day we did a 17-mile kayak which was tough but really fun. And don’t worry I am keeping most of the mosquitoes away. Miss you guys! Hope Atlanta is good and packing up the house is going well. Love you xo
Abigail W: Hey Mom, Dad and Louis! I miss you guys so much and time is going by so fast because I’m having so much fun. I recently went surfing and got up every time. Done amazing things such as kayaking 17 miles along the Na Pali Coastline where Jurassic Park was filmed to jumping off large volcanic rock into the ocean on a secret beach. I’ve got scuba diving coming up because today I’m leaving Kauai and going to the Big Island. I’m taking lots of videos and have gotten you all gifts. Love you! See you Wednesday!
Bee: Hi Mom, Pop, Lucy and Tommy. I’m having so much fun!!! We are leaving Kauai right now and heading to the Big Island and everything’s so pretty. Everyone is so nice and I’m having so much fun.
Olivia: Hey fam. I’m having an awesome time and Hawaii is insanely pretty. I miss you all and the puppies so much! Tell Maren I hope she has fun in Costa Rica! Love you all so much, see you in a couple of days. PS. No worries, my hip is doing great.
Ian: Mom and Dad, Hawaii is awesome. I’m having so much fun! So far we’ve kayaked 17 miles down the Na Pali Coast and gone surfing. We’re flying out to the Big Island today and have scuba diving coming up. Hope all is good back home. See you guys soon!
Danny: Mom, Dad, Mac and Jill. I hope you are all doing well. The trio has been extremely fun. So far we have surfed, done some community service and kayaked 17 miles along the Na Pali Coast. We are leaving Kauai to go to the Big Island today. Miss you all and hope to see ya soon.
Boote: Mom and Dad, I’m having a swell time in Hawaii. I am in fact having fun. We went kayaking. Everyone here is pretty neat. How’s Bandit?
July 4, 2017
Aloha from Kauai!!!
We kicked off our first full day with surfing in Hanalei Bay and Olivia, our star braider, selflessly gave everyone a new “do” before we hit the beach. Natural born surfers, Abbie and Sophie took full advantage of our phenomenal surf spot, catching all the waves they could.
The next day we started the morning right with bacon, eggs, English muffins and fruit. Bella, a vegetarian, selflessly volunteered to make everyone else bacon to help us kick off day two with full bellies. After breakfast, we walked down the road to a KTC Challenge course, a combination of low and high rope activities. Luisa took charge during the low ropes course and helped guide her team to victory during the swinging log and sinking ship challenge.
Bee and McCall solidified their trust in each other during the Wobbling Woosie Wire-walk working time and time again to accomplish the goal. Danny and Ian worked on their belaying skills as they assisted in bringing everyone down from the Jungle Vines and Leap of Faith.
Sam faced his fear of heights and attempted the tree climb. Though heights aren’t his favorite, he was a true team player and had no trouble setting up the zip line and lending a hand to our outfitter.
After the KTC Challenge Course we went to a nearby beach that has been described as a “slice of heaven” where lush tropic jungle meets white sand beaches and turquoise water. Abigail not only took a “leap of faith” on our challenge course, but also off of a rock jump into the ocean at our jungle beach. She gracefully completed the course with ease along with a beautiful cannon ball into the sea. Boote kept the whole group laughing as he and James constantly body surfed, crashing into the waves and barreling into the sand.
As you can see, we’ve been having a ball here in Hanalei. We can’t wait to tell you about our next adventures!
~ LK, Julianne, James
July 1, 2017
Hi Hawaiian Islands Families!
We heard from the crew in Hawaii and all arrived safely. We are so excited for the adventure ahead!
-The Moondance Team