July 8, 2021
It’s our first day of surfing. We woke up, chowed down on a big breakfast to fuel our day, and headed to Kahili beach. There, we met our guides Mitchell, Evan and Nate, had a quick land lesson, and then headed out into the waves. Eb and Caroline were immediate professionals and shredded like nobody’s business. Anastasia started catching waves immediately which was impressive for her first time ever surfing. Andrew and Henry swung like Tarzan on a rope swing while waiting for their turn to surf. After the lesson, we all hung out in the river behind the beach and played around in the warm water. Logan and Eb did some cool tricks to entertain the group. After our surf, we drove to the famous Hanalei Bay! We had an awesome picnic lunch at the beach and the kids played an intense game of hacky sack. To finish off the day, we all got a snow cone treat before heading back to camp. What an awesome day! Everyone really enjoyed having the time to just hang out and play together all day.
Happy 4th of July Everybody! Due to some crazy sea conditions, we had to skip out on the NaPali Kayak. Lucky for us, that change of plans turned into one of our best days yet. The kids still wanted to see the NaPali Coast, but since we couldn’t access it by boat, we decided to hike into it on the Nu’alolo trail. The trail was split into some different terrains. Halfway into the trail, it started turning from rainforest to dry landscape. The views just got better and better, as we hiked down into the NaPali coast. Our LOD’s, Bradley and Caitlyn, dawned some American flags to celebrate, while pushing the group on towards the finish line. Thanks to Cullen, and a portable burner that he had packed, we dreamt up the coolest lunch plan ever. We packed a pan and the burner and lots of hot dogs and buns, to have a cookout on the lookout. After some sick photos in front of the sprawling cliffs and a chance to catch our breath, we continued on the trail with bellies full of dogs. Henry and Andrew blazed ahead at the front of the group as the trail got steeper and steeper. Anne carried the team (and most of the groups water supply) as she powered through the tough terrain. At the end of the 8 miles, we rewarded ourselves with local Kauai coffees and smoothies at the Koke’e Lodge and finished the day in true American fashion with hamburgers for dinner. We headed back to the campsite pooped from a tiring but AMAZING day, which led to one if our best Moonups yet.
After a well deserved full nights rest, the group whipped up a spread of eggs, potatoes, and sausage to replenish everyone for the day ahead. Many of the kids set up hammocks around the campsite to chill out for the leisurely morning. Henry dominated a game of hackysack, while Logan and Cece spent time rehearsing some songs on the ukulele. We eventually packed up the van and drove to world famous Hanalei Bay, where we were met with some of our most striking views yet on the beautiful white sand beach. We found a dope surf shop that let us rent boards for the afternoon so that we could practice our skills and shred some gnar. Our LOD’s Raynor and Anne laid out towels on which they helped put together a picnic spread for lunch. Bradley and Henry were the first in the water to try to catch some waves, and Caroline proved to be an absolute surfing queen by the end of the day. We made our way back to camp to begin our Iron Chef competition. As we were drawing near the end of the trip, we had a lot of unused food that needed to be put to good use. So, in true iron chef fashion, we divided up the students into teams, evenly distributed the common goods, and had a blind selection of some mystery items. The goal was to put all of the food supplies to use and make a tasty meal for everyone. Mission accomplished!!! Both dishes were absolutely delicious, and left the whole group wanting more. Due to a wager made with Logan about the results of the Iron chef competition, we are happy to announce that Addie and Caitlyn tried and thoroughly enjoyed a fish meal during our trip. We ended the day with a home made cake and the birthday song to celebrate all of our June and July birthdays! Last but not least, we finally had some ukulele performances for Moonup, which made it extra special.
Our last full day was jam packed with goodness. We began the day with a second surfing lesson, although the group didn’t really need it on account of their natural surfing skills. The waves were tough but we were tougher. Caroline and Henry even surfed for two sessions in a row, and the guides were seriously impressed with their strength. There was a bit of chilly rain so Bradley, Caitlyn, Addie and Cullen decided to spend their time in the hot tub (the warm water river behind the beach). We had a quick lunch picnic before heading across the island to the NTBG. Our second day of service was a short stint of weeding, and then a leisurely stroll. Amanda, our NTBG guide walked us to an awesome waterfall, and then took us on a tour of the gorgeous Allerton gardens. We got to see film sets from some pretty famous movies, and even played in the giant trees from Jurassic Park. All tuckered out from a long day, we loaded back into the van and drove to our local food stop. Paco’s Tacos had been on our mind for days, as Logan had been raving about their delicious chipotle sauce. All the kids finally got to try it, and agreed that it was in-fact one of the best sauces on the planet. Our LOD’s Cece and Andrew led us in our final Moonup, where everyone got their own personal nug jug. It confirmed for everyone just how amazing our trip had been, and how loved every single person on the trip is.
Airport day! This morning we woke up and Andrew joined us to watch a fiery sunset on the beach. After the whole crew was awake and around we began cooking a delicious spread of macadamia nut pancakes with orange slices (thanks to Anne), breakfast potatoes, and an egg scramble! After that, sadly, it was time to pack up camp. The kids broke down their tents like pro’s and within no time their was no trace we had been at the campsite at all. We loaded the van and headed to Kapa’a for our banquet dinner at Bubba’s! The crew filled up on burgers and corn dogs then proceeded to explore the town. Before too long, it was time for our first goodbyes. After one last emotional van ride to the airport where we blasted Jason Derulo, we began to say our goodbyes. Can’t believe the trip is over, but we are so thankful for the two weeks we all got to spend together <3.
Mahalo for an amazing trip!
-Brooke, Meredith, and Logan
July 3, 2021
Time to decompress (haha! Scuba pun)!
The last 2 days have been full of exploring, traveling, and all sorts of fun. For our last day on the Big Island, we decided to broaden our horizons. Since we had no morning appointments, we slept in and took our time to make a delicious breakfast. All the girls woke up and got together with Logan to chef up some breakfast burritos that everyone enjoyed. With our bellies full and happy, we set out of camp for the day. Our LODs, Andrew and Raynor, helped the leaders at the store to make sure we had everything we needed for the day. For our first stop, we went to the market in Kona so everyone could buy some souvenirs and some puka shells for necklaces. The girls even decided to get some pink hula skirts, which worked perfectly for our hula in the evening. From there, it was time to adventure out on saddle road, the only road that goes through the middle of the island. Within 15 minutes, the landscape had changed drastically into lava flows. Cullen piped up from the back of the van and suggested we stop to take pictures. Everyone romped around on the black rocks and snapped some cool photos. We totally think we can make the catalog. We set back out on the road to make it to the Mauna Kea viewpoint. As we drove to it, we were swallowed by a cloud and while we stopped there for lunch, it was still very misty, but that didn’t’ stop us from having a fun lunch. Caitlyn climbed to the top of a hill to Lion King her lunch wrap. From there, we were off to the next location, where we would eat dinner and receive some authentic Hawaiian lessons in ukulele and hula. Cece came prepared for the uke lesson with some actual experience and blew away the instructor, Wes, with her talent. During the hula lesson, we all learned that Eb’s hips don’t lie, and Addie and Caroline made up some of their own unique moves, giving the instructors a run for their money. What a day!
Time to fly to Kauai! Thursday morning, the gang woke up early to start packing up our campsite to prep for our travel day. Anne, our resident Gordon Ramsey, whipped up a batch of killer pancakes of all different flavors. Her spread was complete with sausage, hash browns, and an assortment of fresh Hawaiian fruits. Our LOD’s, Cullen and Anastasia, helped mobilize the group as we waved goodbye to the Big Island beaches and hopped in the van for the airport. While at the airport, the girls took advantage of a cute photo booth, and Henry added to his running tally of the types of Aloha Punch that he has taste tested. Once on the plane, Andrew brought out a deck of cards and organized card games across the rows. Everyone rejoiced as Brooke pulled around in the van and we loaded up to go to camp. Right off the bat, everyone fell in love with our new campsite, and got excited to be in a new place. We all donned our Italian accents to cook our pasta dinner as well as possible. Henry’s accent was so authentic, that by the end of dinner, nobody could remember what his normal voice sounded like. Bradley now responds to the name Tony Rigatoni. We decided to hold our first Moonup at our new campsite on the beach, where Caitlyn had the group cackling and Cullen’s quote really moved the crowd.
Hooray! Our first full day on Kauai! Today we drove to the south side of the island to one of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens locations for our service. Today’s project was picking weeds from one of the plant gardens. Leslie led us in how to spot the difference between the good plants and the weeds. Henry and Caroline were weeding masters and filled up the back of the truck within minutes. Addie connected with the beautiful environment and found lots of inchworms throughout the day. We successfully finished our service and are headed to do some laundry so we can have clean clothes for this half of the trip. Everyone is feeling in the groove of things now, and we’re ready for what’s ahead.
Here are the messages to people at home!
Addie: Happy birthday mom i love and miss you!
Raynor: Happy late birthday dad! I love you and mom so much!!
Caitlyn: I finally got my bag. Tell lippy we sang her HBD
Cullen: Hey mom and dad i’m having a great time, also, happy late birthday mom
Caroline: Hi mom, dad, and katherine! Im having the BEST time ever hope all is well at home. l Love yall!! Hawaii is really pretty!
Eb: Scuba was awesome, i’m excited to surf. Miss you. Shoutout to the homies
Andrew: I’m doing good, hawaii is pretty sweet
Anne: Hey mom i’m doing well and my mouth is okay!
CeCe: Hey mom! Hope ur reading this i miss you so much hope yall are having fun in florida. luv u
Bradley: Yo yo whats good with yall. Paradise is good and i cant get enough of it. I might fake a covid test and stay in honolulu for a bit. If i decide to do this dont be surprised and add money to my card. Thanks
Anastasia: Hey fam, miss you guys!
Henry: Wassup mom and dad hawaii is so dope lol miss yall
June 30, 2021
Aloha from Hawai’i!!!
What a whirlwind these first few days have been! From car rides to dancing to diving, this group’s initial activities have been nothing but fantastic! Starting from airport day, Brooke, Meredith, and Logan arrived at the airport eager to pick up their new bunch of students- Cullen and Eb being the first ones off the plane. While some of the kids who got in early went to check out a cool beach spot, the whole group was fully united that night and celebrated with a pizza party.
Caroline’s contagious energy made everyone start a dance circle around the KOA baggage carousel. We then loaded our bags into the van and hopped into our beloved van that we have nicknamed “the yacht,” and headed all together back to camp! We held our inaugural Moonup on our campsite’s beautiful beach under the stars, where Caroline and Bradley were picked to be the first Leaders of the Day (or LODs).
WOOHOO – on to our first day of scuba diving!! We woke up to a rain shower, but that quickly morphed into a rainbow and we enjoyed a nice breakfast on the beach. The crew loaded into the van and we headed to the dive shop where a group of students were dropped off to begin their first day of scuba certification! The group of certified divers headed to the harbor to hop onto the dive boat with Captain Bob and their dive instructor Will. Caroline, Bradley, Cullen, Anne, and Caitlyn were all eager to jump into the bright blue water, where they spotted huge crowds of fish, a swimming octopus and a number of eels. Bradley proved to have the most efficient lungs in the group and was able to stay underwater long after the rest of the group. This led to him swimming with a sea turtle after the group had returned to the boat.
Back at the pool, Addie, Eb, Anastasia, Henry, and Andrew were picking up on scuba skills like real pros. Brooke and Raynor spent a good amount of time sunbathing at the pool-side! After SCUBA, we all headed to the airport to pick up our final student, Cece! While waiting for her at the airport, Addie and Bradley performed some karaoke to keep the group entertained. That evening, we cooked our first meal at camp, with Caitlyn and Raynor running the cooking crew. Thankfully, the dinner was pretty tasty with the help of some sriracha Mayo.
Day two started off great as we finally had everyone pile in the yacht to start our day. Our LODs, Cullen and Cece, blessed us with an awesome Edgar Allen Poe quote to start the day during morning huddle. Today the certified divers dove with Mongo and Carolina. We saw some octopi, huge conch shells, and even more eels. Back at the pool, Raynor championed the entire pool class in one day, to catch up with the certification class.
After scuba, we went to a picturesque black pebble beach. Because the beach was made of pebbles, the waves crashing sounded like rain. There were some pretty big round rocks, and Eb was entertaining everyone by skipping them over the crashing waves. As everyone was getting hungry, we headed back to camp to cook fajitas! Because the chicken had been deemed too bland the night before, Cullen took it upon himself to season the chicken with his own special seasoning he brought from home. We’re still working on perfecting the chicken preparation for our meals. At Moonup that night, everyone found out how great of a storyteller Henry is! He had everyone on the edge of their seat and cracking up the whole time.
Yay! The whole group got to dive together for day 3! Anne helped with breakfast, and made sandwiches for everyone, which was a huge help. So, we all dubbed her mother goose for taking care of us. Today we did a shore dive, which is where you walk into the water to start your dive, instead of going out on a boat. It was super cool, and a new experience for almost all of us. A pizza party at lunch was the perfect reward for our long day in the sun, after which we looked for a shady spot to relax and rest for the remainder of the afternoon. The beach we went to had lots of honus (sea turtles) so the kids got to watch them graze, and Brooke gave a talk about why Honu are so protected in Hawaii.
After that, we headed out to pick up dinner on the fly and ate it on the beach while watching the sun set. It was so gorgeous and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. This led us into our best Moonup yet. Caitlyn opened with an a-cappella rewrite of party in the USA, called party in the KOA (Kona) and everyone sang along. Finally, we headed back to the boat for our Manta Ray snorkel. We got the special opportunity to go later at night than most boats – which meant we got the best show! All crowded around surfboards with attached LED lights, we watched as crowds of 15-foot manta rays barrel rolled to catch their food. At one point we could see at least 12 mantas circling together! Our guides even said that they had never seen anything like it before, so we all felt super blessed.
Day 4 was the day our whole crew had been waiting for, and boy was it a good one! Today we all were able to board the same vessel and enjoy a day on the water to dive together. The first dive location was called Arch Caves and it was a hit. The water was teeming with big eels, triggerfish, and bright parrotfish. While the group was down below the waves, Anne befriends the crew and made friendship bracelets on the boat’s bridge.
After resurfacing, we ate some lunch and moved to the Golden Arches (not McDonald’s don’t worry). This dive spot was full of life and offered the certified and newly certified divers the opportunity to swim through giant arches that were formed from collapsed lava tubes. Bradley and Logan free dove to the bottom after the dive and came face to face with a moray eel. On the boat, we had Spinner Dolphins wave us off to sea, Bottlenose dolphins playing beneath the boat and in our wake, and then we got surrounded by a pod of Pilot whales! We were all in awe at the amount of wildlife that was interacting with us.
After finishing up the new divers certifications (woohoo) we made the journey home to our beach camp to relax for the rest of the day. Andrew carried his team to a win in a game of spike ball, while the girls all worked on cook crew together. Their sweet and spicy noodles were a total hit! Another beautiful sunset lit up the sky as we sat down for Moonup, where Andrew and Raynor were named tomorrow’s LOD’s.
Mahalo for reading and stay tuned for more!
-Logan, Brooke, and Meredith
June 26, 2021
Hello Hawaiian Islands 2A Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Kona last night, except one student who is arriving late today! They are off on their adventure and excited to meet the final student tonight! We have heard from our leaders that the trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!
– Moondance HQ