July 24, 2021
Ahola one last time,
Well folks, we cannot believe we are writing this final update. It sure is sad. What a time we have had over the past two weeks. It has flown by faster than we could have imagined, but we are so thankful for the incredible memories we have made. Here’s a look into our last few days on the island!
On Wednesday, we woke up ready to finish out our service days strong! We met with Ekolo one last time at his house. He lives on a beautiful beach front property. Once we got there, he let the kids snorkel and learn more about marine life. He gave them underwater paper and they were able to study different fish and coral species. Anders, Miles, and Cate were eager to share their findings! Afterwards, he taught the kids how to shuck their own coconut. It is harder than it looks! Lach worked on the 1st stage, which involves getting rid of the outer, fuzzy layer. Isobel took on the 2nd step, which is sawing it in half. Sky, Harriet and Spencer worked on the final step, which is sanding it. Ekolo imparted the kids with his final words of wisdom before we embarked on the rest of our journey.
We decided to stop at a roadside beach and have a picnic lunch before our road trip to Haleakala National Park. We enjoyed getting to eat and hangout on the beach. Once we got all packed up at camp we hit the road. The drive is around two hours to the top from our campsite, but it isn’t one you want to sleep on. It has windy mountain roads and beach drives all in one! Once we got to the top, we ate pizza and enjoyed the view. It is one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Over 10,000 ft in elevation, you can see all over the island of Maui, other Hawaiian islands, and the clouds. The clouds are so close it feels as if you could reach out and grab them. We admired the amazing view and enjoyed each other’s company. Ava took some incredible photos on the mountain and kept the group laughing the whole time too. After the sun set with an array of colors, we drove back to camp. We ended the big day with a Moonup and hit the hay for our last full day.
Our last full day in Maui is finally here so we had to start it out big with some delicious pancakes. Isobel and Dottie did an amazing job whipping them up for the group. Then we got in our van to drive across the Island to the famous Hana Highway to go Rappelling! The windy roads of the road bring us some of the most awe inspiring views in the world— with the lush jungle on all sides of the van. Finally we arrived at the Garden of Eden and met up with our incredible guides for the day. Sam took the first group up the path to get geared up and tell us all about the adventure that awaited us. After a quick hike we emerged from the jungle trail we were greeted by a bright leafy green canopy. The coolest part of this spot is that the opening scene of Jurassic Park was filmed here! It’s just that beautiful. Cate and Anders were the first two brave volunteers to make their descent and let me tell you— they are naturals. The second line was a 50 foot drop next to a waterfall! Miles conquered his fear of heights once again and went down with ease. The final rappel was another beautiful, grassy cliff into the water. Luke was the first to go and made it look easy. Once we finished, we hiked back up and headed home! What a fun, exhilarating activity to do on our last day on the island.
At the end of the trip we always have a banquet to celebrate all we have accomplished over the past 11 days. We celebrated our banquet at a local restaurant called The Beach House. The kids enjoyed some yummy burgers for their last night. We ended the final night sleeping under the stars and doing one last Moonup led by Dottie and Hall.
On our final day, we woke up early and cleaned up camp. This group worked hard and fast so it did not take long at all! For the rest of the day we explored Paia one last time. We headed to the airport to say our goodbyes and let me tell you it was not easy. Everyone exchanged numbers and hugs. We are not ready to leave!
We still cannot believe the trip has come to an end. As we said our goodbyes at the airport, we departed with joy and sadness. The bond this group created is not something you see everyday, and we are so thankful we got to experience it. Thank you again for sharing your kids with us -we sure do love them! We will be telling stories about this trip for the rest of our lives and we’re glad we were able to give you all a glimpse of it all. Mahalo nui loa!
A hui ho,
Sidney, Miles, and Lillian
July 21, 2021
Man, time is passing by quickly here in Maui. Our days have been filled with fun and adventure. We are all having a blast and holding on to every second we have left together!
Sunday morning started a little before sunrise as we woke up ready for a day on the water! We drove down the coast to go snorkeling at Molokini Crater. It is one of our favorite days so it’s always worth the early wake up call. When we arrived at the boat ramp, we suited up and put on our sunscreen and hopped on board. The sun rose over the water as we jetted through the waves and we enjoyed some fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls on the boat. Following this, we all jumped into the clear water in the crater. There were fish all around and coral of all different colors. Hall and Anders showed off their free diving skills as they explored the beautiful coral reef. We swam and enjoyed the underwater scenery. After this we boated to the outside of Molokini Crater, known as “The Elevator”. Sky, Cate and Dottie stayed in the water till the last minute and we snapped some incredible pictures. The group continued to explore La Perouse Bay and Turtle Town, some of Maui’s most famous snorkeling spots. After, we enjoyed our captain taking us over some big waves in the zodiac boats. It was awesome! The group had the best time jumping the boat and swimming in the waves. Finally, we enjoyed some delicious wraps, chips and cookies on the boat then headed back into shore.
It was simply the best morning. We drove back to camp and got ready for a giant surprise party with all the other groups! With matching bandanas in hand we welcomed the other kids and played games all afternoon on the field. For dinner, Harriet and Cate helped make hotdogs and Mac n Cheese for the group. Full and happy we watched the sunset with our new friends then went to the field for a dance party. It was a blast! As the night came to a close it was time to say our goodbyes. After all the groups went home we stayed on the field as our LODs Sky and Lach ended the day with Moonup. Then we got ready for bed and went to sleep.
On Monday morning, we woke up to a huge pancake breakfast to prepare us for our first day of service! Our LODs Ava and Miles got the group excited and ready for the day during our morning huddle. As we arrived to the Maui Cultural Lands we were greeted by the site director Ekolu’s smiling face. After a brief introduction and a ceremonial blowing of the Conch Shell we headed into the site to start our project. We spent our morning pulling out weeds and putting down a weed mat in order for them to plant Endemic Hawaiian flower trees that they plan to use for making lei’s in the future. We are excited to come back tomorrow to finish out the job. We got to close out our day with a fun lesson about Hawaiian history and culture with our leaders Ea, Jackson and Ekolu. They made sure that we all learned something new today.
The group then headed back to camp to make lunch and suit up to go Cliff jumping! We went to the famous cliffs called “Dragons Tooth” just a short drive from our campsite. The water was a rich blue and the whole group was stoked to jump into it. Luke and Hall were the first two kids brave enough to make the leap. Anders, Lach and Miles were right behind them too. Spencer and Dottie conquered there fears and with the encouragement from Sky made the leap! We had a ball playin in the ocean and we even had a massive sea turtle swim up to join in all the action too. It was an action packed afternoon to say the least.
Our day ended back at camp when we ate a Moondance classic dinner called “Tommy Sauce Noodles”. The group absolutely loved it. Hall, Ava and Sky headed our dish crew for the night and absolutely crushed it. Our night closed all together laughing with a Moonup under the stars.
Our Tuesday morning started out strong with toasted bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. We got dressed and headed back to Maui Cultural Lands for the second day of service. Spencer and Luke, our LODs, got the group excited during our morning huddle. We met Ekolu and Jackson once again and went to work installing the final layer of mulch and pruning the butterfly trees. They gave us a tour of the site and even explained the cultural significance of the Hawaiian Tao plant. Isobel, Harriet and Sky were chosen to put three new tea leave plants into the ground. It was so cool to do something that will make an impact for generations to come!
After an incredible morning of hard work, we headed into Lahaina to have a town day! The kids were so excited to go explore the shops and restaurants for the afternoon. We came back with lots of fun shirts and jewelry. Miles and Luke opted to get henna tattoos on their forearms— it was definitely a crowd favorite (and parents we promise they are not permanent)! Then we got some gelato then headed back to camp to hang out before dinner.
We decided to hop in the van one more time and head over to our favorite beach for sunset. The sky lit up in soft pinks and oranges. We laughed, ran and danced on the sand and snapped a few pictures too. On the way back to camp we jammed to Makelmore, singing the whole way home. Once we arrived at camp we piled out and made a delicious pesto grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner. It was absolutely delicious! Our LODs closed out the night with another amazing Moonup.
We can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip holds and will continue to soak up every second in this amazing place! Nonetheless, these kids miss their fams and wanted to give y’all some shoutouts!
Lillian, Miles and Sidney
Sky- hey mom and dad miss y’all see you soon! I’m having a great time and have made so many new friends! I can’t wait to tell you all about my trip!
Harriet- Hey Mom and Dad I miss you both so much. Having fun and the views are amazing. Tell Pryor and Stewart I say Hi. Love you both so much and see you soon.
Miles- sup mom and dad
Hall- Hey mom and dad miss you and love you.
Spencer- Hey mom and dad miss you lots and can’t wait to see you soon love you lots.
Dottie-Hey mom and dad! I’m having a blast I miss y’all very much!!
Cate- Hey dad and mom!!! Miss y’all see y’all soon! I am having so much fun! I have met so many best friends! I don’t want to come home! Tell Colin hey! Love y’all -cater
Luke- Wassup dad and mom having a blast in Hawaii, I’ll be back soon dont worry. Hope your having fun in Cali.
Lachlan- hey mom and dad I miss y’all and I’ll see you guys soon in big sky! love y’all see you soon
Ava- hey mom and dad I miss y’all and love y’all Moondance has been so fun even more than I expected I hope y’all are having fun in Cabo. Taylor and Dottie are in a group with two girls in my group siblings. Bye bye.
Isobel- hey mom and dad and Mercy. Having fun in Maui. See y’all soon, love you lots.
Anders- hey y’all miss you I don’t think I want to leave I have made so many great friends but can’t wait for my bed!
July 18, 2021
Thanks for checking in! Its been a blast getting to know each other over the past few days. This group has hit it off better than we could have ever imagined and we are so excited for the rest of the trip. We cannot wait to see what this amazing island has to offer.
On Wednesday, we enjoyed sleeping in a little bit! We eased into the morning with some of Sidney’s breakfast quesadillas. Then, our LODs Hall and Sky led our morning huddle and we headed to Iao Valley State Park for a fun morning hike. The group enjoyed the scenic drive through the mountains. Once we got there, we hiked through the rainforest and explored the park. We stopped to see the clear water creeks and rivers. Anders, Lach, Hall, Miles, and Luke jumped and swam. The girls trekked through the rocks to explore. We enjoyed feeling like we were on the Jurassic Park set. This rainforest looks quite similar!
After a fun morning hike, we drove to Makawao to zipline the canopies. We filled up on some delicious sandwiches for lunch and were ready to hit the course. Our group was beaming with excitement! Sky, Cate and Lach were our fearless leaders as they were first to step on the platform. Our first line was a starter line and got everyone ready for the big ones. Everyone did so well and were so excited to go through the lines. Miles conquered his fear of heights and we were so proud! We went down the rest of the lines with excitement. All of the lines were high in the canopies and had the most amazing views we have ever seen! After the third line Spencer, Sky and Isobel got to enjoy some fresh guava that our guides picked off the trees. It was the perfect refreshing treat! The last line was the longest with views of the entire island. Now with wind blown hair and big smiles we made our way back to the van.
We drove back to camp and cooked another dinner together. Our cook crew, Cate, Lach and Dottie made a delicious curry dinner for the group. The sunset was absolutely beautiful and it made the perfect setting to finish another adventure packed day in Maui. Our night ended with a Moonup under the stars then we hurried to bed to get some sleep.
Thursday morning came early once again, but this group was teeming with excitement as we headed to Makena Beach to Kayak and Snorkel! The scenic views and good music made the drive go by in a flash. We arrived at the cove to meet out guides Griff and Rusty and we made a beeline to the water. Harriet and Lach were the first past the waves and they led the group the whole morning. They paddled through the reefs and navigated the crystal clear blue water with ease. We arrived at our snorkel spot, Turtle Point, without hesitation the group geared up and hopped in to explore. We saw lots of turtles, fish and coral all along the coast. The boys even saw TWO grey tip reef sharks! Anders captured the coolest video of it too. It was incredible and definitely a wow moment for our day. The group enjoyed Fig Bars on the water then paddled back in through the waves to shore. Isobel saw a flying fish and pointed it out to the whole group.
After rinsing off at a beach shower near by, the group went back to camp for lunch and games. We played death sack, listened to music and chatted about everything under the sun. Hall and Miles had the brilliant idea of making a slip-n-slide out of the tarp and the group was all for it! We had the BEST time soaping up, diving and rolling down the hill. Spencer and Sky found the funniest methods to get down the slide and perfected the tuck and roll exit strategy. We rinsed off and warmed back up in the sun then we got dressed and ready for dinner.
We opted for a delicious pizza dinner! The girls made a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the coming days. Then when we got back we all ate dinner as the sun set over the ocean. The group finished the night with Moonup and then headed to sleep for a morning on the water again.
Friday morning the group woke up ready for our second day of Surfing! We got dressed quickly and drove to Kihei once again to jump into the waves. The water was glassy and calm when the group first paddled out, then the swell started rolling in and the kids started popping up on their boards left and right. Harriet was a natural; she impressed everyone with her poise and style on the water! Ava, Sky and Cate worked together to grab the perfect wave. Anders was the last one out on the water. We had such a blast getting to surf again!
After hitting the waves, we stopped by our favorite farmer’s market for some treats! Some of the kids enjoyed fruit and açaí bowls while others got shaved ice. Sky and Dottie found a new love for dried mango. While Anders was fascinated by the pink dragon fruit. At a vendors table Luke helped the group pick out the coolest jewelry for everyone to take back home. It is such a fun local stop to make. To make the day even better, we decided to check out a popular beach, known as DT Fleming. The girls played in the water, while the boys explored the rocks. The waves were massive and the group really got into body surfing. Before heading back to camp we stopped at one of our favorite spots for ice cream. It was the perfect way to cool down after a long day in the sun.
Back at camp, we got cleaned up to make dinner and hang out for the rest of the night. Our cook crew, Luke, Hall, Lach and Cate made the group the most incredible Greek night feast. We had chicken, hummus, salad, naan bread, pita chips and more. It was a crowd favorite! After cleaning the kitchen, we circled up for another fun moon up to close out our night.
Today, we woke up with muffins and balloons for Lillian’s birthday! It was a fun start to a big day. First, we headed to our windsurfing lesson. It was beautiful and windy this morning, which made it the perfect weather to windsurf. Ava and Cate did so well that our instructor recommended places in Texas for them to continue! Everyone did so great and really learned how to do master it.
For lunch, we went to Paia Fish Market, one of our local favorites. It is the perfect local food stop to get a taste of the island. We had a fun afternoon exploring Paia. We ended the afternoon at the beach and played some games. What a day! As happy kids headed back to camp for dinner.
When we got back to camp an afternoon rain shower brought the most beautiful double rainbow over our campsite. It was the perfect backdrop for our lively game of kickball. All the kids had a blast! Then Dottie and Isobel went into the kitchen to help make chicken quesadillas for the rest of the group. We all ate and cleaned up before we surprised Lillian with a Birthday cake and brownies. Then we went into the field to close our day with Moonup. Our LODs Harriet and Cate did a fantastic job. Then we all headed to bed quickly for an early morning on the water tomorrow.
We are looking forward to the rest of our trip because we know it will be amazing. Thank you guys for sharing your kids with us in Maui we are having the time of our lives. This group has already gotten close, and we are so thankful for each of them. As always, stay safe and have fun, we know we will!
Sidney, Miles and Lillian
July 15, 2021
Aloha Family and Friends,
We are off to a running start here in Maui on our Hawaiian adventure! Airport day was a huge success, thanks to all of your diligence and patience with the Safe Travels details! Once Spencer, Isobel, and Sky arrived on night one our group was finally complete, and we headed to our campsite with pizza in hand. The kids were singing and chatting the whole car ride. We set up camp and after some brief introductions the group headed to sleep to prepare for the first full day on Maui. We have the most incredible group, and we are so excited to see all that these next 2 weeks will bring.
The kids were so excited to start the day they woke up super early— you could blame the jet lag but we like the other side. After eating some delicious blueberry muffins, the group jumped into the van to get to our first activity: Stand Up Paddle Boarding. We met our instructors on the beach and after a funny, quick land lesson we grabbed our boards to hit the waves. With ease the group paddled beyond the shore break where we were greeted by seven sea turtles! It was so cool to see them up close. Cate got an incredible video of one the turtles that swam right up to her board. The group had so much fun chatting and swimming around in the crystal-clear blue water. Luke and Lach showed off their skills by summersaulting off of their boards, while Spencer impressed everyone with her graceful back tuck. The conditions were perfect, and we all wanted to stay on the water all day. But alas we paddled back into shore and thanked our guides for the best morning ever.
For lunch, we came back to camp and made paninis and grilled cheeses. After playing some games and enjoying lunch, we went to Slaughter House Beach. Despite the name, it is one of Maui’s most beautiful hidden beaches. With lush greenery and rocky cliffs on either side, it is truly a gem. It is right off the side of the highway and can be easily missed if you don’t know where to go. The second the group hit the sand the kids bolted for the water. Anders brought some snorkel goggles and made sure to explore every inch of the coastline. The group swam around the rocks and hallowed out caves for hours. It was so much fun.
What a fun first full day! Our 1st cook crew, Isobel, Harriet, and Anders whipped us up some tacos, rice, beans, guacamole, and salsa for dinner. It was delicious. We have our meals family style, and it makes every meal meaningful. It was nice enjoying our first sunset at our campsite and reminiscing on a great day. We ended the night with a Moonup lead by our LODS, Dottie and Lach, and watched the stars.
For day 3, we woke up early to shred some gnarly waves! Everyone was excited to go surfing. We headed over to Kihei beach to learn from the best. They learned all of the positions before getting in the water. Harriet got up on her first try and continued to impress the group. Cate was also jumping up and catching waves by herself. This group has impressed us with their athleticism. Dottie, Ava, Sky and Hall capped off our morning with a party wave!
After we finished, we ate lunch on the beach. It was fun getting to play games and get to know each other. We decided go check out a local farmer’s market after lunch. Everyone tried out new fruits and got some fun snacks. Dottie and Cate split a beautiful fresh açaí bowl while Sky, Isobel, Spencer, Luke, Hall and Lach opted for some refreshing shaved ice. Miles and Anders grabbed some cool shades that decided to rock for the rest of the day.
For the afternoon, we ventured to the base of Haleakala and arrived at Pono Grown Farms. We were greeted by a smiley Evan Ryan, the owner of the farm, who directed our group to the pavilion for an orientation. He told the group stories of historic Hawaiian farming practices and how we all can be better stewards of the earth even back home. We then split up into smaller groups to help his farm hands prepare plant beds, shift compost, harvest cucumbers and green beans. The kids were ready to get their hands in the dirt! We had a blast talking to the workers and learning all about the land throughout our time there. We said our goodbyes and went back to camp for dinner.
Our cook crew, Ava, Spencer and Miles made the most delicious chicken pasta for dinner. We ate dinner as the sun was setting and made lanterns with our headlamps. We laughed and talked all about our day. Finally, we closed out our day with Moonup under the stars led by our LODs Anders and Ava. Then we headed to bed to rest up for another full day of adventure.
We are so amazed by how quickly this group has become a family and cannot wait for the rest of our journey together!
Miles, Sidney, & Lillian
July 12, 2021
Hello Maui 3C Families!
The group arrived safely in Kahului 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!