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Fiji 1 A • June 9-June 25, 2022

Final hello from Fiji!

June 25, 2022

Bula vanaka! Fiji has been a dream, and the past few days could not have been better. After

traveling the country, learning a new culture, tasting new foods and trying new activities, we

have finally settled down at our last home of the trip, Fiji Beach house.

Our first day, we met up with our Kiwi surf guide, Bruce, to get out in the waves! Jake and Ella

were catching waves and standing up with only vocal coaching in no time! There was a lot of

water moving around out there which made for strong currents and lots of paddling! Luke and

Kenzie were huffing and puffing up a storm to get back out to the lineup, but told me after, the

struggle made the successes all the more worth while. When not smiling ear to ear being

propelled toward the shore by powerful waves, the kids were looking beneath their feet at

crystal clear water and reef. John and Jack decided to take a sunset horseback ride on the

beach while shades of orange filled the sky. Everyone else decided to take in the scenic beauty

from the comfort of the hammocks on the beach. Having worked up a hardy appetite from

paddling all day for their waves everyone enjoyed wahoo or steak for dinner.

Bright and early, we set out on an island boat ride for our second day in paradise. The ocean

spray cooled us off in the morning heat as we crossed the choppy sea. Our guide, Croy and

Freddie, surprised us by blaring some of our favorite songs on the boat speakers. Mary knew

every word to every song! Before we knew it, we were at our own private island. The water was

clearer than any we have seen before, you could make out every color of the fish passing by

and every detail of the coral below us. We immediately ran into the water to spend as much time

in the Fijian ocean as we could. After a delicious meal of hot chicken, potatoes and veggies,

Emma and Elizabeth curled up on the hammock and read their books to enjoy the peaceful bliss

our island provided for us. The rest of the group either followed suit, diving into the words on

their pages or explore more of the beach. In no time, Jake and Luke found a tree to climb, and

Emma, Kenzie, Emerson and John each had their own collection of seashells. We concluded

our perfect day snorkeling and exploring a reef as the sun began to set.

The next day we slowly got out of bed and soaked up the sun and rested in the hammocks

again in the morning. Smith even decided to take a nap for a few hours while the gentle sounds

of the rolling waves and aviary animals filled his ears. After our morning respite we took to the

ocean for our second surf lesson with Bruce. The swell was down a touch from the previous

days which made for a calmer and more serene day of surfing. Caroline hooked onto a party

wave with John John that lasted what felt like a lifetime! Richard was a wave catching machine

always slightly favoring the lefts and getting down the line like a pro. Emerson, Ella, and Jake

were having so much they stayed out another hour past our lesson and did what seemed like

endless laps, taking every wave as far as it would go. Our final Moonup was a melancholy one

as the realization dawned on these fast friends that they would soon be split apart. The desire to

stay in touch was palpably felt so I have no doubt these friendships will last well past our flights

back home. Thank you so much to the parents back home for sharing your amazing kids with us

this summer!!!


All the Best,


Emme + John

Having Fun in Fiji!!

June 22, 2022

Bula from the southern coast of Fiji!


We just wrapped up an amazing few days in the Fijian jungle, and we cannot wait to share all of our stories! We were welcomed into the Nambukelevu Village with a kava ceremony in the Chief’s house. After a delicious lunch of spaghetti and meatballs, we went to the local school to play with the students. Emerson, Kenzie and Ella played volleyball, and Luke, Smith and Jake played a few games of baseball. Meanwhile, some students taught Jack, John and the girls a new game called Taki Taki. Once school was let out, the children held our hands and led us to a field across the river from the village. Jake joined in on an intense game of rugby, while Richard, Elizabeth and Mary got pulled into a game of Taki Taki. Our guides, Toby and Pedro, cooked us chicken curry for dinner, before we fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.


Our second day in Nambukelevu began with hot chocolate and our LODs, Mary and Luke, inspiring us to intentionally be with others in their morning quote. The group hiked through the jungle to find firewood and banana leaves too cook later. We also learned to uproot and replant cassava plants. Emma led the group with her perfect form of inserting the cassava stem into the upturned dirt. Jake and Ella got to learn to use the machete as well to cut the plants. After our hike, we cleaned off in the river and swam with some of the village children. They showed us the rocks to jump into deep water and held our hands as we jumped. Ella and Mary were welcomed into a house by a young woman also name Ella. They sat with her talking and even got to hold her newborn baby girl.


During our final day in the village, we were asked to join the village in their Church service. We listened to the children sing and attempted to make out the few Fijian words that we knew during the sermon. It was wonderful to see how the community comes together as a whole! Later that day, we bathed in the river, swam more with the kids, and John and Jack became fast friends with the older village children who were also 16. The children found interest in the bracelets that Caroline and Kenzie were making, so before long, Mary, Ella, Caroline, and Kenzie were completely surrounded by children wanting to learn how to make their own bracelets. That evening, we gathered in the Chief’s house for our farewell ceremony. We drank Kava with the chief and village women adorned us with flower necklaces and baby powder on our faces. It was sad to leave Nambukelevu after the friendships we made, but the trip only got better.


We began our rafting trip on the Navua river with beautiful rock walls towering over us and the beautiful jungle surrounding us. It began to rain, but Ella, Jack, Elizabeth, Richard and I couldn’t help but laugh as our guide, Abraham, sang “Country Roads Take Me Home”! I could not believe it was Kenzie’s first time going rafting; She handled it like a pro! The afternoon was spent splashing the other rafts and pushing people into the water. Once at the Wainadiro Village, we met some of the village children and had our welcoming kava ceremony. That night, they played music on a speaker and children ran up to our kids to dance with them. The grandmothers couldn’t help but dance with Jake, and a younger girl quickly grabbed Luke’s hand. Before long, we were all dancing in the Chief’s house!


On our last day of rafting, we each had our own duckie to float down the Navua river. Jack never left Abraham’s side as they were a dynamic duo cracking jokes the entire trip. Elizabeth, Emma, and John tricked Caroline and threw her into the water. During our lunch break, the group hiked through the jungle to a massive waterfall. It was definitely the highlight of the day! After our day of whitewater kayaking, we traveled to the southern coast of Fiji where we got plenty of rest for our next adventure.


We can’t believe the trip is coming to an end in just a matter of days, but we are so proud of this group for what they’ve done for this village and have loved watching them grow so close. We can’t wait for our last few activities!


Signing off,

Emme + John

Yandra Vinaka (Good Morning)!

June 16, 2022

Yandra Vinaka (good morning)!


Not only are we learning more of the Fijian vocabulary but also how to scuba dive. A few days ago, we left Nadi for Pacific Harbor, an area of Fiji on the south coast. Our new living corridors consisted of a cool bungalow with a kitchen and porch. We began our scuba lessons in the pool and jumped off a bridge into the warm ocean water during our free time. Richard became fast friends with our scuba instructor, Jona. They had too many inside jokes to keep count! We had our first dinner in Pacific Harbor at an American restaurant where we got to eat our favorite foods. We also had the best chocolate cake with ice cream and danced to music to celebrate our first night of scuba diving.


We began day five of the trip (the first full day of scuba) with a nutritious breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, toast and papaya. We continued our scuba lessons in the pool, and scoured the area for coconuts- Caroline tried some for the first time! The group had their first two ocean dives in the afternoon. Kenzie began this section a bit nervous, but jumped off the boat like a pro! Emma and Mary saw a puffer fish and a blue starfish, while Ella and John John explored the reef together. For dinner, Caroline and Jake (the LODs) took a a quick trip with Emme to the local market to pick up ingredients and supplies for dinner. We then cooked hotdogs, chicken burgers, veggies and potatoes in our bungalow kitchen.


Our second day of scuba diving began with the most chill morning. Ella and Luke, our LODs for the day, woke everyone up and gave a quote to excite moral for more learning of scuba skills. We enjoyed pancakes, fried eggs and bananas before relaxing in enos. John was basically glued to his eno, soaking up then Fiji sun and good vibes. John John challenged Luke, John and Jake with pattern puzzles and brain teasers and competed in an intense game of nukum 1v3. Smith, Jake and Jack narrowly beat John John in the final match which thrilled the boys. Our afternoon consisted of our third open water dive, where Elizabeth successfully overcame the challenge of equalizing her ears! Ella and Luke then cooked chicken tiki masala in the kitchen while everyone else helped out, danced and laughed.


My favorite day of the trip began with our fourth open water dive led by our dream team LODs, Richard and Emma. This dive was at Comb reef and had the most beautiful coral and sea-life. The best part… everyone became certified! After finishing our last training dive, the group walked to the Arts Village to buy sulus (sarongs) and see the local shops. We then wrapped up the day hanging out at the beach and swimming in the waves. We got to see a shark swim by at a very very safe distance!


Not only was yesterday our last day scuba diving, but it was our sweet Jack’s 16th birthday!!!! Kenzie, Ella, Emerson and Emme woke up early to decorate Jack’s bunk, and everyone woke him up singing happy birthday. We had our last dives of the trip at comb reef, where we saw a turtle and so much more. We further celebrated Jack’s birthday by surprising him with a cake and taking the group out to dinner at a local restaurant.


This trip has flown by. I cannot believe it has been nine days with these kids. I feel so thankful that I get to know each one of them. I cannot wait for the many more memories we will make together!



Emme + John

Bula from Fiji!

June 11, 2022

Bula (howdy) from Fiji!!! What an adventure have we had already and we have been in Fiji for only 24 hours. Kenzie and John were our early arrivals in LAX, so we decided to kick the trip off with California’s famous In-N-Out! John was not hesitant to get the monster fries, and he was not disappointed. The remainder of our airport day consisted of some awkward hellos, but in no time some close friendships began forming. TSA check in took longer than expected, so we had our first adventure of sprinting through the airport as a group to our gate. In no time, we were catching some Zs on the flight.


The whole crew finally landed in Nadi before the Fijian sunrise. Despite being tired we had an amazing day of fun, sun and sailing. Jake bravely attempted his first backflip that didn’t quite go as planned, but each time he popped out of the water with the biggest smile on his face. Emerson and Ella in the spirit of nautical adventure took it upon themselves to teach some of the boys knot tying in the form of colorful bracelets. Luke and Mary were quick into the water once we dropped anchor off a small neighboring island. We explored the beautiful reef system and were lucky enough to see turtles, jellyfish, various colorful fish and even a lurking eel. On the way back Richard and Emma used the boat hammocks to take a nap while the rhythm of the sea gently rocked them to sleep. The rest of the group were quick to follow their example! Smith however decided to soak in the scenery and stoically watch as islands and mountains came in and out of view as we passed them by.


Once back at the hotel we gathered on the grass for a big pizza dinner. Caroline spiritedly helped set the tone for our first Moonup and got everyone excited to share. Today, our inaugural leaders of the day Jack and Elizabeth rounded up our sleepy kids and set the tone of the day with an awesome quote. Vinaka (thank you) to all the parents back home for sharing your amazing kids with us this summer!!! We have so much more fun in store!

Safe Arrival in Fiji

June 10, 2022

Hello Fiji Families!

We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Nadi. 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


  • Caroline
  • Elizabeth
  • Ella
  • Emerson
  • Emma
  • Jack
  • Jake
  • John
  • Kenzie
  • Luke
  • Mary
  • Richard
  • Smith