June 23, 2018
Aloha everyone! On Wednesday, we left Kona to head out for the oldest of the Hawaiian islands — Kauai! We were sad to leave Kona behind but were met with an incredible scene on this island. It is beyond beautiful here – we can hardly believe it!
From the start, William helped lead the troops in the airport with a great attitude while Lele freaked out when she spotted one of her favorite celebrities: Doctor Spencer Reid from criminal minds! What a surprise. After the whole group had a photo op with this super star, we boarded the plane for new adventures! Upon arrival, we were blown away by the landscape of Kauai. We settled into our new beach front campsite which happens to have a beautiful view of the mountains filmed in Jurassic Park! Not a bad scene to wake up to! Ellen, Walker, and Daniel relaxed on the beach while catching some rays as William, Hunter, Jack and Richard caught some waves in the water like they were locals. This group has done a great job in taking full advantage of the spectacular beaches that we are lucky enough to explore. Later that night, Daniel and Caitlin got to work setting up tents while other campers decided to sleep in their Eno hammocks.
On Thursday morning, we headed out to the Waipo Foundation to begin our service work with the group that works to sustain Hawaiian culture and agriculture! The students practiced teamwork on poye day, helping make a traditional Hawaiian staple food. Mary Brooke collected the taro while Charlotte peeled it and Jessica cut it up for poye. It was a wonderful experience and we all enjoyed participating as a group. Next up, surfing Hanalei Bay and sea kayaking the Na Pali coast. We are so excited for another wonderful adventure that lies ahead of us!
June 19, 2018
Aloha from the Islands!
The following few days of PADI were incredible, especially being able to take our skills learned in the pool to the ocean! Saturday was a long day of scuba where the group learned how to put together gear and practice skills in the pool. After learning some skills in the pool, we drove to the Kona beach pier to do a swim test. Caitlin and William kept everyone laughing with their infectious humor, as we pushed through the coastal waves. Everyone killed it!After a crazy day, we headed back to the campsite for a good ole beach cookout. Jack and Richard cooked up some mean cheeseburgers while Walker impressed everybody with her extra cheesy Mac n Cheese recipe. Lele raved about the All-American meal after her recent return from Italy. It’s safe to say everyone demolished this tasty meal. Our group circled around Hunter and Walker as they lead our moonup and a discussion about our biggest fears.The next day we headed to the shores for our first open water dive. Daniel had a blast diving and was excited about the sea turtle and a large school of fish he saw! Charlotte and Ellen bonded with our awesome scuba instructor, Carlos over his shark hat. Jessica lead a dive independently for the group, using a compass to direct us towards the boat.On our final dive to complete our certification, there was a true WOW moment. Before we could even get our dive started, a school of dolphins came near the boat which prompted Walker to immediately leap into the water, grinning ear to ear. The entire group swung amongst a pod of these breath taking animals. What an amazing week it’s been! Mary Brooke and Daniel led the moonup for the day asking us about a time in the past year that has changed us, and a moment we would rewind and live again if we could. Daniel impressed us with his musical talent and sang the song “ooh child” to unwind us after a fun filled day. We are heading to Kauai tomorrow, and can’t wait to keep you all posted!
Sarah Carr, Duncan, and Madison
June 18, 2018
Wow, what a whirlwind of a few days it’s been, the group touched down in Kona last Wednesday and have been having a blast since! Once the kids arrived we started getting to know each other and headed to our campsite for pizza! The campsite we are calling home is a beautiful spot right on the beach! After a long day of traveling we un-winded with our first Moonup and emphasized to the group how important this sacred time of daily reflection is.
The following day we had a slow morning and cooked up some egg, cheese, and sausage breakfast sandwiches before heading off for a day hike. The LODs (Leaders of the Day) for the day were Charlotte and Jack who are returning Moondancers and helped lead our hike! After the hike we had an impromptu stop at a popular cave made from ancient lava! For dinner, Jack and Charlotte helped whip up some tasty stir fry with veggies. During Moonup we discussed who we most look up to in life and also discussed Moondance expedition behavior and how to better ourselves as leaders.
On Friday, the kids got their first taste of PADI SCUBA diving instruction at Jack’s Diving Locker. Richard, Lele, and Jack offered helpful insights to the other students due to their previous SCUBA experience. The rest of the kids enjoyed learning how to put together equipment and breathe their first breath underwater. During our lunch break, the kids had a blast exploring the seaside village of Kona including the afternoon street market. Mary Brooke and Ellen got into the local spirit and bought authentic Hawaiian shirts, while Jack and Richard munched on fresh fruits (aka Jack ate a whole pineapple like corn on the cob). Daniel enjoyed some fresh gelato in the sun, and William found a favorite smoothie joint down the street.
After a long day of SCUBA instruction, the group ventured out to the seaside docks of Kona for a Manta-Ray night snorkel adventure. During the boat ride, Caitlin squealed in excitement as groups of dolphins swam alongside the boat. Charlotte and William sat at the bow of the boat taking it all in. Jessica enjoyed the waves from the deck as we sailed into the cotton candy clouds. The night snorkel was an experience of a lifetime. We snorkeled on the surface of the water as 14-foot Manta-Rays drifted under our boards. Exhausted from a fun filled day, the kids ended the day with a nighttime Moonup where Hunter and Walker were designated as tomorrow’s LODs. We’re looking forward to completing our SCUBA certifications throughout the next upcoming days!
June 14, 2018
Hello Hawaiian Islands Families!
We heard from our leaders last night, and all students have arrived safely in Hawaii! We cannot wait to hear more news from their adventure.