July 8, 2021
Aloha! Big time fun has been happening here on Kauai. After our full day of festivities for the Fourth, we cooked a full breakfast to start Monday off right. We went back to the south side of the island to hike in Poipu. Our hike was beautiful and right along the coast the entire time. Will and Bennett evaluated the cliffs along our hike and analyzed the best ones for climbing. We had incredible viewpoints for Sophia to capture amazing pictures. The hike ended in an old sea cave that’s been dated back to the Ice Age era. We took a tour of the massive cave and learned all about how it was formed. Isaac was particularly impressed by the height of the ceiling of the cave and fossils that still remained in the limestone walls. We ate lunch in the middle of the cave and marveled at the age of what we were sitting in. After lunch, we made our way to our Tortoise Reserve, where Aiden was amazed to see five massive tortoises. On the hike back, Kate blazed our trail. We stopped for a photo shoot of our dynamic group along the coast. As a reward for our efforts in the hot sun, we stopped for ice cream in the old town of Kapa’a. We enjoyed all flavors of ice cream on the beach, including Thomas’s favorite- cookies and cream.
Back at the campsite there were several more games of spikeball played and time spent in the ocean. For dinner, Kathryn led the group chopping vegetables for our veggie stir fry. After dinner Bennett organized the team’s efforts in making snack bags and sandwiches in preparation for our upcoming big day. Tuesday morning began with “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns and Roses, a wakeup call requested by Charlie. We drove to the north end of the road around Kauai to board our kayaks. Everyone was immediately impressed by the Na Pali Coast- especially Will who has added hiking the Na Pali Coast to his bucket list. Only 30 minutes in, we were all impressed by Bennett’s kayaking skills. As we made our way along the coast, we saw rainbows, turtles, and schools of fish jumping. Thankfully, the swells permitted us to explore sea caves in our kayaks. Vincent, Thomas, Isaac, Bennett, Charlie, and Will stood on the spot where Mary J Blige filmed a music video- no worries they rocked the stage just like her. Bennett was MVP for carrying the seasick leader in his kayak. We stopped for lunch 12 miles in on a former landing strip from World War II. We had the best sandwiches and fresh pineapple that was well deserved by all. Will was eager to jump back in the kayak after a long nap. Ella and Vincent led the charge back out to sea. Bennett soon took the lead and was pretty much offered a job by the guides. After 17 miles, the group landed on the beach on the west side of Kauai. Everyone jumped in the water to celebrate our biggest achievement yet.
Once we properly celebrated in the ocean, we stopped to get burgers at a local food joint. The appetites were quite large after our big paddle so the burgers really hit the spot. Arriving home, we completely navigated the entire island, something very few people can say they did on the island.
Our final day we woke up and made a full American breakfast for our last morning together. After packing up camp, we made a few final stops on the beautiful island. This included a beach stop for Aiden to find shells, a sticker store for Will, and a thrift shop for the banquet lunch. The banquet lunch featured much missed Mexican food that was highly favored by all- most notably Sophia. A few more spots in the lovely Kapa’a town were hit on our way to the airport. Bittersweet goodbyes were said and contact info was exchanged before everyone headed back to the mainland. We’ve had an incredible time and are so thankful for the adventures.
Until next time,
Vivian, Molly, and Jack
July 5, 2021
Aloha friends and family! We have settled into the beautiful garden island of Kauai and have had a full past 3 days. Our adventure started with service work in the National Tropical Botanical Garden, where we assisted our new friends, Howard and George, with clearing paths covered in fallen coconuts, palm leaves, and Bamboo. Sophia and Thomas showed off their muscles by carrying massive tree stumps to the truck beds one after another. Will was eager to munch on the fallen coconuts and quench his thirst from the hot sun with delicious and fresh coconut milk. After the kids’ hard work, they were rewarded with a guided tour of the garden, originally owned by the Hawaiian Queen Emma. We were able to see the beautiful plants that are indigenous to Hawaii. Will was thrilled to taste the local fruits that are grown in the garden, his favorite was the wanna-be sour patch kid beans. Kate enjoyed tasting a new fruit that was a similar to grapefruit but sweeter. A huge hit with everyone were the sites that Jurassic Park was filmed. Our group was lucky enough to get a reenactment of the egg hatching scene from Charlie (the dinosaur), Aiden and Will (the scientists) in the exact tree roots that it happened. We were so proud of the kids as they put in a lot of work to maintain the garden’s indigenous plants and ecosystems.
On our second day we traveled to Kilauea Bay, where we hit some major waves on our surfboards. After a windy morning, the waves were constantly breaking, creating the perfect surfing waves. The group was split into two groups, as the first one started in the water while the other one went into the town of Kapa’a. The first group looked like pros, as everyone was an experienced surfer. Isaac killed it and immediately got up on his own wave after wave. He’s a pure natural! Mary Reagan gracefully popped up on her board and rode the wave all the way into the beach each time. The second group also had a strong showing, with Bennett and Charlie knowing when a good wave was coming from miles away. In the late afternoon, we took a trip to Haneali Bay, where everyone was able to shop, eat, and take in the surroundings of one of the world’s most famous beaches. Ella, Aiden, and Kate bought delicious snow cones that were bigger than their heads! There’s truly nothing like Hawaiian shaved ice. We ended our day at our campsite cooking spaghetti and watching a gorgeous sunset.
As Sunday came around, the kids woke up to windy 4th of July morning full of another day of surf in Poipu. The girls started off the group strong and showed the outfitters who’s boss. Since surfing just the day before, everyone was so comfortable on their boards. Kathryn was catching her own waves and stood up every time like a pro. The boys were able to surf some of the biggest waves of the day, as they went further off shore. Vincent was able to conquer the rushing waves and use his strength to push himself up. Bennett impressed us all by showing off his skills and tricks in the water. After surfing and a quick nap on the beach, we headed back to the campsite to have a 4th of July field day, including wheelbarrow races, a three-legged race, a moo off, and a sprint to the ocean. Our dinner was a classic American cookout of hot dogs and Mac and cheese. We finished our meal by singing happy birthday to America and enjoyed cookies and cupcakes. Things are quickly raping up on Kauai and soaking up the last couple of days together. Here are shoutouts!
Kathryn-hi family! I am having the best time ever and never want to leave. Love you
Sophia- hey jhits I’m living my best life see you soon. The most welcome. Show Sky this
Ella- hey!! I am having so so so much fun and I’m a surfing pro miss you guys so much and see you soon. Tell Tobin and Mabel I say hi
Kate – hi! I am doing great in Hawaii and having a good time. I haven’t lost any of my things either. I’ll see you guys at the airport!
Aiden- hi!! I’m having so much fun! I can’t wait to tell you everything! Love and miss you!
Thomas- What’s up, Hawaii is sick and it’s a lot of fun. Great group of people and great leaders. Hope everything is well back home and hope y’all are doing well. See y’all soon. Love y’all and see you soon!
Charlie- whats up! Hawaii has been crazy and beautiful. We surfed today and yesterday and it was nuts. The group is great and the trip has flown by. Love and miss y’all!
Vincent- Hey guys, how are y’all doing? I caught my first wave surfing yesterday, and it was so much fun. I I Love Y’all, see y’all soon!
Will- Been having so much fun surfing and scuba diving. Can’t wait to go sea kayaking and wish this trip would last longer.
Bennett- Doing great only three days left so I’ll make them count see you soon.
Isaac- hello parents. I’m having a great time thank you for letting me do this. Love you and I’ll see y’all soon! <3
Molly, Vivian, and Jack
July 2, 2021
What a ride it’s been on our last few days in the Big Island!
On Tuesday, we welcomed in a whole new batch of certified open water scuba divers! It was an absolutely awesome day of diving where we spotted some amazing marine life. Bennett, Will and Vincent were such quick learners that they looked like pros by the end of the day, and their instructor even remarked that they were the best group he’d ever had. Everyone’s hard work on our course was rewarded when we got to swim with a massive school of fish, an eagle ray, and some octopi! It felt like David Attenborough should’ve been narrating our journey the whole day. Back at camp, Mary Reagan and Ella led the way cooking up some delicious hamburgers, and the boys broke out the basketball for a pre-dinner hoop session.
On Wednesday, we got to explore the Big Island! We had spent so much of our time on Kona’s beautiful coastline that we still had so much of the island left to see. We started out with a hearty pancake breakfast and set off on a loop of the island. We stopped by southeast shore and got to witness hundreds of acres of the newest land in the USA that had been created after a volcanic eruption in 2018. Sophia and Aiden led the group in some fun car games en route to this stunning volcanic wasteland.
We parked at a nearby beach and took some time to soak up the views. After we learned that the nearby pond was a natural hot spring Thomas was quick to cannonball in. He was soon followed by everyone else who wanted to enjoy the perfect water temperature. Feeling refreshed and smelling slightly of sulfur, we set out for Hilo, the rainiest city in America. Surprisingly, the weather was gorgeous! We walked from tent to tent at the local farmers market, picking up fresh fruit, peppers, açaí bowls, and bracelets. Isaac found some of the most delicious lemonade any of us had ever tried, and Vincent picked up a pufferfish t-shirt.
Our drive back to Kilo was along the gorgeous ‘Saddle Road,’ flanked on either side by massive volcanic mountains. Towards the end of the drive, Isaac broke out some of the mini peppers he bought in Hilo. They were far too hot and everyone who tried them was chugging water for the rest of the ride! We finished our loop of the island and met up with the other Moondance group for Hula and Ukulele lessons! We had a blast learning some traditional Hawaiian hula moves, with Charlie killing it on the ukulele and Ella really getting the dance down. After the lessons we had a dinner, a dance party, and then promptly passed out from our long day.
On Thursday, after an action-packed week, we said a bittersweet goodbye to the Big Island and made our way to Kauai. Nicknamed ‘The Garden Isle’, Kauai holds a unique natural beauty with lush forests and breathtaking terrain. Everyone was super energetic the entire day, eager to see the stunning green mountains that will be the backdrop for the second half of our trip! After arriving at our new campsite, Kate found an innovative way to stake her tent with sticks, and Kathryn prepped the veggies and sausage for some delicious personal pizzas. At moonup, we looked back on some of the most memorable moments from the trip so far, and couldn’t contain our excitement for what’s in store for us next on Kauai!
More to come soon,
Jack, Vivian and Molly
June 29, 2021
HWI 2C is now in session on the Big Island!
After a long flight, the group headed straight for dinner. We ate delicious Hawaiian pizza (of course!) on the Kona Coast beaches and then headed to our campsite to rest up for our first full day. We’ve had a fabulous start to our activities. On Saturday, Will, Ella, Vincent, Thomas, Kate, and Charlie suited up for SCUBA lessons, while Kathryn, Bennett, Isaac, Mary Reagan, Sophia, and Aiden took a drive to the beautiful Waipo Valley lookout. After scuba lessons, the group joined back together for a drive down south. After the short drive through beautiful pasture lands that turned to volcanic rock, we made it to the southernmost beach in the United States. Bennett showed off his skills skipping rocks while Mary Reagan got the lay of the land from the locals. We ended the day with chicken tacos by Chef Vincent. Sunday morning began with hot coffee, oatmeal, and cereal. The group flipped lessons today to finish out the pool dives. The divers from the first day took a trip to a local farmers market for fruit on the way to Magic Sands Beach. At the market, Will, Charlie, Vincent, and Thomas found matching shell necklaces to look the part for our Hawaiian adventures. This half of the group put on a show with a few games of beach volleyball versus the locals. Charlie was a solid setter to Ella who could recover the digs from Will. After pool lessons, the group spent a little time in the town shops before heading to the beach park. Here we had some teriyaki chicken and shrimp that was “totally rad” according to Isaac. After dinner we headed to the harbor for everyone’s favorite activity, night snorkeling with manta rays. We all suited up and jumped into the ocean to grab ahold of the surf boards that were fitted with LED lights. We floated in the water as we watched the manta rays do flips beneath us. Kate shared her knowledge about manta rays which impressed our guides. Although pretty chilly, everyone climbed back on the boats with the brightest smiles. Sophia and Mary Reagan led the boat ride home with a dance party. To celebrate Isaac’s birthday, we had the most beautiful day for our first open water dive on Monday. We rode out into the most beautiful blue water, all eager to see the coral reefs. Kate was excited to put his skills to the test after mastering the lessons in the pool. We all had a blast seeing marine life around the reefs, but Will’s highlight was seeing an octopus, while Kathryn and Aiden somersaulted through the dive chasing schools of fish. After completing two dives, our group celebrated on the beach and told stories of our dives; Bennett proud to have seen the most turtles. We ended the day with delicious burgers made by Charlie and Ella. Only one more sleep until we have new certified divers! Our time is coming to an end on the Big Island, but our (soon-to-be) divers are excited for our adventures on Kauai coming soon.
Molly, Vivian, and Jack
June 26, 2021
Hello Hawaiian Islands 2C Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Kona last night, and they are off on their adventure! 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