June 22, 2021
The second week of the trip has been even better than the first somehow. We started our adventure with a morning surf lesson at Kalama park. This was a huge hit and ended up being most of the student’s favorite activity thus far. This seemed like the picture perfect day out on the water as the sky was bright blue and the waves were filled with lively surfers. Thomas and Hatcher amazed us all with their surfing abilities and were able to catch very challenging waves from the start. After an hour or so of surfing it was super exciting to see everyone in the group successfully stand up on their boards!
After our lesson, we headed into Kehei to enjoy a nice sit down lunch at a Mexican restaurant. We all devoured the delicious fish tacos and took in the lovely views of the surf town. Next, we took some time to explore the town and check out some shops. All of us bought pooka shell necklaces and anklets to make us feel like true locals. We concluded the day by making vegetable stir-fry noodles with the group and enjoyed a great Moonup together.
We started the following day with a tasty breakfast prepared by Carter. She made us all strawberry, banana, and Nutella crepes, a recipe that she learned from her previous California Moondance trip. After we all scarfed down breakfast, we headed off to the Marine Outdoor Center for a day full of service. We first started the day with the amazing opportunity to release a turtle back into the ocean after days of rehabilitation at the center. This was definitely a very moving moment for the us all as we were able to return this animal to its natural habitat. As the turtle quickly recognized the water and swam back into the ocean, our entire group was caught with smiles from cheek to cheek. After the release, we headed to a local beach for a shore cleanup. We split into small groups and spread out across the beach to help the workers cut fishing nets out of surrounding trees. Addy impressed us all with her diligence and strong work ethic to make the beach as clean as possible. Shortly after, we headed back to the rehabilitation center for a few more hours of work with the turtles. Julia and Kate helped clean one turtle’s tank and had the incredible opportunity to treat the turtle hands on by applying antibiotics to its wounds. Liv and Lane were pulled aside by the head biologist to help clean and treat another turtle for his fish net wounds in the medical examination room which was a great experience for them both. That evening, we made delicious personal pizzas which were a crowd favorite. Addy blew us all away again with a beautiful song at Moonup to conclude the great day.
Today we all learned how to wind surf which was brand new activity for all of the students. We hit the beach in the morning and enjoyed the new scenery and felt the strong ocean winds. We first split up into small groups with an outfitter to learn the basics of this challenging activity. After a brief lesson, we all headed out into the clear water to put our skills to the test. Immediately, Alston and Gaby popped up and caught the first gust of wind. It was very impressive to watch these two boys pick up this activity so quickly and they continued to master their skills as the morning progressed. For lunch, we all enjoyed turkey paninis prepared by Lane and played several group games.
After everyone had their fill we went to Black Rock beach where we found the local hangout for cliff jumping. Everyone jumped from the top cliff into the crystal clear water and swam to the beach for some needed down time. We all walked around the beach and saw the beautiful resorts nearby. Afterwards, we headed back to the campsite for a serious spike ball tournament where Tawes couldn’t be beat. Once everyone had worked up a good appetite we all enjoyed grilled kabobs under another amazing Hawaiian sunset. We wrapped up the day with a solid Moonup and straight to bed so we can keep the high energy for the remainder of the trip.
June 19, 2021
Aloha from Maui! The excitement on our tropical island has yet to slow down. We started off day 4 with a refreshing morning hike that took us through the West Maui mountains. We hiked up to an amazing lookout where you were able to see from the top of the mountain all the way down to the river. After this adventure we drove to the local farm we partner with for community service. We met the amazing farm owner, Evan, who taught us all about gardening, the unique culture of the Hawaiian islands, and the importance of farms like Pono Grown. We learned what grows best in the Maui climate and what produce the farm sells. We were split into different groups where we either planted beds, checked on new seeds, or cut all of the dead weeds. Tawes impressed us all with his strong work ethic and diligence while prepping plant beds. After a long day of work we decided to travel to Haleakala national park to watch the sun set at the top of the volcano. This was an incredible experience and definitely a memorable sunset.
The next day we embarked on our second day of community service at the farm. We took on similar tasks as the previous day and continued to strengthen our relationships with Evan and the other farm employees. Once we finished our work, Evan surprised our group with a water slide down a hill at the farm. Thomas was determined to ride down the slide on feet and was persistent until he completed this challenging task. That afternoon we walked across the street from our campsite to a local fruit stand and enjoyed some delicious tropical smoothies made from the freshest fruit Maui has. We ended the night with some campsite style Pad Thai that hit the spot throughout the group.
The following day we traveled up the road our rappelling guides for our rainforest rappel tour. This was a beautiful part of Maui that our group had yet to explore. The luscious green forest combined with the sixty foot tall waterfalls provided and unbelievable scenery. Gaby absolutely tackled this activity and went down each waterfall with confidence and courage. After our rainforest adventure we traveled to the local town of Paia to enjoy lunch at a park and a sunset dip in the ocean. Our afternoon consisted of lots of basketball games, body surfing, and incredible views as the sun glistened over the Pacific Ocean. That evening Addy, Liv, and Lane showed off their musical talents and played a beautiful One Direction song for us all at Moonup. We were all blown away by their talents and hope they will continue to play for us the rest of the trip!
Day seven was a big one for everyone, and that’s an understatement. We woke up at the crack of dawn to meet with our snorkeling outfitter, who took us out to the Molokini Crater. Molokini has some of the best snorkeling in the world, and we quickly figured out why. Not only was the visibility crystal clear, but the currents around the uninhabited island provides nutritious water for all sea creatures. We stopped at five different snorkeling spots throughout the day. Some of which you couldn’t see the sea floor because it was about two hundred feet below us. One spot, nicknamed turtle mansion, lived up to its reputation. Kate and Frances experienced a turtle come off the sea floor and swim up right between them. Julia refused to skip any snorkeling, her and David saw five turtles at once swimming around. After an amazing snorkeling adventure the leaders surprised the group.
Initially we told the group in the van about the steep, hard hike without any good views we were about to start. When in reality we were on our way to meet up with the other Maui Moondance groups for a day of Moondance Olympics. After covering our bodies with face paint, we were ready to compete and win. With the long jump, kickball, and capture the flag as our event we knew the win was in the bag. Alston showed off his hops and won the long jump competition for us with an amazing fourteen foot jump. Carter was constantly cheering on the group providing the energy we needed to win. And Hatcher surprised the entire Olympic crowd with his incredible speed and kick during kickball. After we showed everyone how talented of a group we were had headed back to a beach next to our campsite for a nice sundowner dinner and picture session with our face paint on. We wrapped up the day with another magical Moonup with the same singing crew as the night before and deep conversations throughout the group. Ready for a good nights sleep to conquer the Maui swells with our surfing adventure tomorrow morning.
Signing off from paradise and wishing all dads/father figures a Happy Father’s Day!
June 17, 2021
Maui 4B has had an amazing start to our trip!
Trying to gather everyone in the airport is always fun and especially when we had Hatcher helping load everyone’s bags and getting the show on the road. Once everyone got to the campsite they hit it off as a group immediately. It seemed like everyone had already been friends for years. With Thomas including everyone and sweet Kate being everyone’s best friend the conversation is never ending. We all had a nice pizza dinner under our first Hawaiian sunset together, something that seems will never get old.
The next day, everyone woke up super early and were ready to go! Us leaders assumed everyone woke up so early because of jet lag, but we’re realizing now it’s going to be an everyday event because of our awesome, high energy group we have. Carter was awake by sunrise and was beaming with joy because our day included going to the beach followed by zip lining. Even though it was early she was getting the group pumped up and ready to go on our first adventure together.
Our first Hawaiian beach was everything we could’ve imagined and then some. We all got in the refreshing water and played while watching the locals surf some serious waves on the other end of the beach. We were even able to see our first Hawaiian sea turtles submerging out of the water and slowly making their way onto the beach!
After everyone had their swim and got some lunch we headed off to our zip lining excursion. The light mountain mist and sunny skies ensured the group it was going to be an exhilarating activity. Both Alston and Addy overcame their nerves and were zip lining like professionals. Flying over the creeks from canopy to canopy was truly an unforgettable feeling. When we got to the highest point of the zip lining tour we could see both edges of the island and everything in between.
After taking pictures at the top everyone zipped the half-mile long line down to the bottom Everyone was so supportive of one another and worked as a team to conquer their fears. After our first long day we headed back to the campsite for some much-needed rest.
To start off our second day we had an amazing sea kayaking adventure where we hopped out of the kayak from time to time to do some snorkeling. Liv, also conquered her fears jumping straight into the ocean to snorkel. The clear Hawaiian water made it seem like we could see for miles. From Parrot fish, needle fish, and yes, more sea turtles, we experienced everything the sea had to offer.
Tawes showed off his snorkeling skills by swimming through an archway in the coral reef, where lots of fish loved to hang out. Julia was captain of the kayak leading David wherever she wanted to go. We all lined up our kayaks and raced to the nearest buoy. Not every boat was sailing straight but everyone had some serious speed in their kayaks. After everyone’s arms had had enough we washed off the salt water in a cool refreshing shower and headed straight to the beach for some more fun in the sun.
Everyone was tossing the frisbee and passing the soccer ball while watching the huge waves crash on the shoreline. Even though it was such a long, fun day, Lane was able to keep the energy high with her great song recommendations on the way back to the campsite. We finished the day with Gaby’s awesome cooking! We had the best quesadillas Hawaii has to offer.
We all finished the night with a great Moonup under a spectacular sunset, and are excited for the next adventure tomorrow!
– David, Frances, and Mary
June 13, 2021
Hello Maui 4B Families!
We are thrilled to report in that the whole group arrived safely in Maui last night. They enjoyed a night of well-deserved rest together at their campsite and are going to hit the ground running this morning! We have heard from our Leaders, Frances Bowles, Mary Ayotte, and David Kerrigan, this morning 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 post 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 follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!