June 23, 2022
If you’re reading this, this means you have safely made it home and can reminisce on our last moments together!
We started our morning off with a great breakfast and a debrief of our crazy day ahead from our LOD’s William and Morgan. We hopped in the van and drove out to Hanalei Bay for a morning surf session. AC and Jack were killing it as they caught every way they paddled for. Hugh and Lily were out in the water during the first group of surfing capturing some epic videos on the GoPro. Walker, Lars, and Nate all paddled on the same wave and were able to party wave all the way into shore. The next group did even better with Ali and Haven showing off their newfound skills on the board. After surfing the group had some lunch at a local grocery store where we enjoyed sandwiches and traditional Hawaiian cuisine. MH even dared to say it might’ve been one of the best things she’s ever eaten. In the afternoon we headed to the zip line course for quite the tour. Berkley had a blast hanging upside down on one of the coolest lines they had. After this we headed back to the campsite for our final dinner together. A spontaneous game of beach volleyball broke out and it was GAME ON!!! Lilly once again wowed us with her volleyball skills and Lars cracked us up with his attempt to dive for the ball on the sand court. William absolutely killed it when it was his turn to serve, allowing his team to rack up the points. Next it was time for Iron Chef! Two teams competed to prepare the best pasta dish. Holine made a pasta sauce that everyone agreed was the winner, and she went on to make a second batch. The group ended the night all singing ‘Yellow’ with our arms wrapped around each other swaying back and forth. It was a sentimental night, but an amazing one to say the least.
It was our final morning together as a group, but we still had a full day of surprises ahead of us after camp was all packed up. To kick off the day the group prepared a hearty meal of breakfast tacos. AC did a beautiful job at cooking the eggs just right. After breakfast everyone did their part in helping get camp all cleaned up and put away. It was sad to take down the tents and eons, but Walker and Jack made sure to get the tents sufficiently cleaned so our next group could have just as great of an experience. After camp was all cleaned up, we filed into the van to head out to our final celebration! We hit some crazy traffic, but the group didn’t mind because this gave us once last change to jam out and sing in the van. Slowly but surely, we made our way to the store where everyone had the opportunity to pick out a silly outfit to wear to banquet. Jack got some swagger blue and white pinstriped pants, Hugh got a karate jacket, William got a silly tie and Molly, and Gracie got some polo dresses. The group was looking just dapper and ready for a great meal. We made our way to a local Poké bowl food truck called the Pineapple Express. They had all sorts of options and we tried them all! We filed back in the van one last time to go to a local park for our final moon up. The leaders surprised the group with individual superlatives for every single student. Be sure to ask your child what they got! The group shared giggles and tears as we discussed our goals after leaving Hawaii. After our final Moonup we headed to the airport for departure. The group was able to get each other‘s phone numbers and social media‘s for heading home. These students will forever be connected to the memories that they shared, and we could not be more grateful to have had them with us this summer. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing children with us for a portion of their summer, we could not be more grateful.
Gracie, Nate and Molly
June 21, 2022
Aloha our dear friends and families,
We had an early wake-up this lovely Friday morning in preparation for our hike on the Nualolo trail at Weimea Canyon Nation Park! We started the day with bagels and cream cheese, toast, bananas, peanut butter, and peaches. We all sang Happy Birthday to the boy of the day, Walker, who chose to make himself a bagel with Nutella for his birthday breakfast. We then drove an hour and a half to the trailhead, where we met our lovely guide named Sara. She was very knowledgeable and explained to us the different areas around Kauai and what plants we were looking at while hiking. We learned about the practice of washing and wiping your boots before entering a new forest to avoid bringing in contaminated or invasive species from seeds or dirt on the bottom of our shoes. We hiked around 3.5 miles out to a beautiful lookout spot with an amazing view of the Weimea Canyon and we were all shocked about how small the helicopters riding through the area looked. Haven, AC, and Lilly took lots of pictures at the site and were enthralled by how blue the ocean looked from afar. We enjoyed a picnic lunch of sandwiches with cliff bars and fruit. We then hiked the 3.5 miles back, which felt much longer as we were fortunate to go downhill on the way there, only to get our real work out on the way back with steep hills. After we got back to the trailhead, we went into the park shop and bought some knick knacks, Gatorade, and snacks before heading to a beach recommended by Sara. At the beach we were able to take some time to relax after our long day of hiking and enjoyed swimming in the ocean. William ditched his snorkel this time, we think it is the only time he has gone swimming on the trip without goggles to look at the cool marine life! For dinner, we decided to eat out at local food trucks in celebration of Walker’s birthday. The students all enjoyed pizzas and unique flavored French fries… Jack ate wasabi-flavored fries which were delicious. We hung out at some picnic tables in town while we waited for everyone to finish their meals, and then came back to camp to shower and get ready for bed. Walker and Mary Holine, our leaders of the day, led our moonup by asking us thoughtful questions.
Everyone woke up this morning to a high-energy Lars singing us Elton John! We ate a great breakfast and got ready for the day ahead of us. Our LODs Berkeley and Lily made sure everyone had everything they needed in their day pack as we piled into the van and began our scenic drive to Hanalei Bay for a morning of surfing. We split into two groups when we got there and group one got their boards and ran into the water with their instructors to catch some waves. Hugh and Ali looked like naturals riding the waves all the way in almost every time. Lily and Haven got up on their board on their first wave of the day! Group two got in the water after and absolutely killed it! Walker and Jack were on a search to find the biggest wave they possibly could ride. After surfing, the group found a good spot on the beach to set up for lunch! We grilled some delicious burgers and settled in for a very chill day on the beach. MH took this opportunity to setup her Eno and get some much-needed relaxation! After getting hot in the sun, a group of us headed to a convenient store for a cold drink! Morgan tried some amazing boba tea in a can and Will got a refreshing Gatorade. We came back to camp and finished the night off with a delicious dinner and a touching moonup!
We awoke before dawn on this Sunday, Father’s Day, to get ready for our 17-mile kayak on the Na Pali Coast! The kids were pumped to see the boats and luscious scenery, although most of them fell back asleep during the one-hour drive to our meeting point with the guides. Once we got there, we were briefed on safety protocols and headed into the water. The kids were a little intimidated at first, naturally, but once we got going everyone was up for the challenge. Even in the big waves, everyone found fun and humor in the daunting task we were facing. We were so proud of Jack, Walker, Haven, and Ali for not saying a single complaint. Our guides pointed out some famous sites along the coast, including locations where scenes of Jurassic park and music videos had been filmed. They also explained to us the history and cultural significance of the area. We sea kayaked about 12 miles before reaching our lunch spot and had delicious sandwiches, fresh pineapple, chips, and granola bars with lots and lots of water. We learned some massage techniques to help our sore shoulders, and Lars volunteered to be the person being massaged to make sure everyone could understand how to do it! We then got back into the kayaks a mere 5 miles before we reached our landing spot, and everyone was stoked that this portion was less than half of the other one. Hugh and Gracie sang songs and told motivational quotes to keep us all up to speed, while MH and Ali were the silent but competitive kayakers. We landed on the beach and helped our outfitters clean the gear, then later got some well-deserved pizza for dinner. We were so proud of our group for accomplishing such an impressive activity and doing so with grace and a good attitude. Needless to say, we got the best sleep of our lives after this day!
LODs Lars and AC brought the energy for day 11 of our trip! The group was ready and excited to embark on our service and an exploratory day at the Botanical gardens. Berkeley and Gracie were looking forward to a day of rest and reset back at camp. Berkeley spent time relaxing in his Eno while listening to the ocean waves crash. While back at the botanical gardens the group helped by spreading mulch around trees to ensure their health and prevent weed growth. Lars was able to implement his gardening skills and was helpful in giving everyone tips to spread the mulch! We then walked around the property, looking at beautiful garden structures such as fountains and shallow pools. Lilly, Morgan, MH, AC, and Haven enjoyed taking photos of everything they saw. It was arguably the most beautiful place we have seen on this trip. After the service section, we got a break for lunch in which we cooked up some Mac and cheese and chopped up some fresh fruit. Next, we were given a tour of the garden property and ended the excursion by looking at a beautiful waterfall. After we left the botanical garden, we went shopping around town and got some of our final sour gummies from Hawaii. When we got back to camp, we relaxed, swam in the ocean, and got ready for our dinner of pita pizzas and salad. Lars and AC led us in a funny yet meaningful moonup before we got an early night’s sleep!
Until next time,
Molly, Gracie & Nathan
June 17, 2022
Aloha! Things are going swimmingly out here in Hawaii, and we can’t wait to fill you in on some of our most recent adventures!
We kicked off the fourth morning with freshly made scrambled eggs made by Ali and AC. After that, our LOD’s Walker and Holine encouraged and pumped us up for the big day we had ahead of us during our morning huddle. We had our first PADI certification ocean dive and a night manta ray snorkel on the schedule for today. The whole group was prepared and excited for the opportunity to see what sea creatures they would encounter. Hugh, Jack, Haven and Lilly’s group saw a white mouth eel! Everyone was able to successfully dive their first 40-foot dive and was feeling proud and accomplished. After lunch, it was time for dive number two and William was eager to get back in and see what he could find. During this dive, the group practiced their safety ascending with a buddy and it was a great success. After two beautiful shore coral-reef dives, everyone was craving a well-deserved restful break, before our magical night we had ahead of us. Walker got a game of beach volley going amongst us and we shared many joyful belly laughs watching Berkeley dive after the ball. We very impressed with Lilly’s volleyball skills. For dinner, the group was treated to street tacos as a local Hawaiian food stop! As we loaded up the van for our night adventures, the excitement continued to rise as we got closer to the shore for our night snorkel. The girls jumped and giggled as they got into their full-body wet suits. We enjoyed a sunset boat ride with a double rainbow, and the boat ride was filled with nothing but smiles as we embarked on our adventure. When we arrived to the dive spot, our captain set down two light up surfboards to illuminate the waters below as we awaited the manta rays arrival. Once the set below the horizon, they began to swim around and one by one everyone stepped off the boat into the water and held onto the board. We were circled around the light up surf boards with our faces in the water as we waited for the magic. Before we knew it, a 15-foot manta ray was doing flips right below, giving us an iconic front-row view. While returning to the boat, the group was filled with squeals of excitement and stories of how close the manta ray got to each of them. The captain treated everyone to a sweet treat and the night was coming to a picture-perfect end. We had a sleepy car ride home and then Holine and Walker led us through a soothing, meaningful Moonup.
The next day woke up and were served breakfast bowls with eggs, avocado, leftover rice, and sausage by our kitchen crew – Hugh, Walker, and Lars. We then had a quick turnaround to the harbor where we met our outfitters to scuba dive from a boat for the first time, and we all officially got our PADI open water scuba certifications! The first site we went to was called Eel Cove, which had a lots of fish of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Berkley and his group were stoked to see an octopus – which are hard to find as they actively hide from scuba divers. AC and Havens’ favorite fish was the blue parrot fish, and our other favorites included the Moorish Idol, Trumpet fish, spotted Tobie fish, and the Viper Eel. On our second dive, we went to a site known as the “Golden Arches” for its submerged, lava-formed arches which we were able to swim under and experience the ocean like fish! It was an incredible experience, and we were so proud to see everyone go into scuba with little to no experience and come out the other side looking like pros! We then logged our dives in our notebooks with the outfitter crew and drove home where we played beach paddle and set up our hammocks. For dinner we had fajitas, in which Ali remarked it was the best meal yet. Before bed, we sat in our crazy creek camp chairs and reflected on the day with our leaders of the day, Lars and Lilly. So proud of our crew!
After a somewhat rainy night, we awoke to the lovely smell of chocolate chip pancakes being prepared by our cook crew. We got to sleep in this morning as we had a more relaxed and open schedule with plans to visit a green sand beach and then go to Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park to watch the sunset. In the morning we faced some adversity after our UHaul key got locked inside the UHaul, but were fortunate as there was an Ace Hardware store just down the street to help us out. We were able to spend some more time at our campsite’s beach which was great. Everyone in the group went with the flow and didn’t complain about the sudden change in plans, which kept everyone’s moods up! Once the UHaul situation was figured out, we drove to green sands beach and had to hike to the beach site. The walk itself was gorgeous, and then the beach was awesome because it had a large amphitheater of natural rocks surrounding the dark grey sand and bright blue water. William had fun snorkeling, while Walker, Ali, Jack, Lars, and Berkley explored the interesting rocky terrain. We then gave Ali and Morgan, the leaders of the day, the option to go to the Volcano National Park, and they responded with an emphatic and enthusiastic yes! We drove around an hour to get there, up a long road to a beautiful stopping point where we watched the sunset and took photos! We were very close to the clouds while in the park and enjoyed some spectacular views. We then got dinner at a local restaurant and drove home where we had a quick Moonup with our tired group. We can’t wait to travel to Kauai tomorrow!
Rising before the sun on our last morning on Kona, we headed off to the airport with great curiosity and excitement to see what lies ahead of us. The whole crew boarded the plane and took a quick and easy 40-minute flight that allowed for a full day of fun. We had a good deal of first-day errands to run in order to prepare for our six days of camping. We loaded up in our van and went to the grocery store to stock up on food and goodies. As Molly and Nate shopped, we played games, chatted, and passed the soccer ball. Jack showed us all his soccer juggling skills while Lars and Berkeley made us all laugh with endless jokes. We got the pleasure of meeting the other Hawaiian Islands group when we traded camping locations before they headed to Kona. Everyone exchanged stories and shared about their experiences during activities that our group would soon be embarking on. Jack, Walker, and Berkley went with Gracie to find a soccer and volleyball to take with us to the beach and keep us busy for the day. Everyone was craving some freshly washed clothes and we had just enough time to squeeze in a trip to the local laundry mat. During our car ride, Lars, Ali, Berkeley, and Jack had us all belly laughing with their attempts of singing songs a-cappella. At the laundry mat, Berkeley hung up his Eno hammock and we all sat around chatting, and even listening to the restaurant next door’s live singer. Everyone, especially Morgan, was very proud of all their perfectly folded clean clothes. Seeing the bright and cheery town got the group so pumped to explore the culture and beauty of Kauai. Lilly, MH and Jack helped Nate put up and prepare the tents in their perspective spots. Morgan, Walker and Ali whipped up some delicious quesadillas, complete with beans, peppers and salad for us to enjoy as the moonlight began to shine. Mary Holine was so helpful in working aloneside leader Gracie to set up a lunch making station for everyone to prepare their packed lunch for tomorrow’s early morning hike. In waves Everyone made sure to make a sandwich or wrap and grab all the fruits and snacks they wanted for the big hike, this got everyone even more thrilled about the hike. To close off the evening we got to have our first Moonup under the magical stars in the Kauai sky lead by William and Jack. Tomorrow is Walker’s birthday, and we are so excited to celebrate! Having a Moondance birthday is beyond special.
Can’t wait to keep sharing our adventures with y’all!
Nate, Gracie, and Molly
June 14, 2022
Arrival day was finally here and we could not hold in our excitement. The leaders headed to camp to get the site prepare for everyone’s arrival, making sure all the tents were perfected placed and ready to go. We set up camp on a perfect spot on the beach, right between two palm trees. At the airport we jammed to music while we waited for our group to form. Haven was our first arrival and we were so pumped to have her, she was such a positive and happy spirit right away. Next came Will sharing about his long day of travels and his excitements for Hawaii. Before we knew it the rest of the boys had all arrived, we chatted, got to know each other and listened to music while we awaited the final arrivals. Anne Carden, Lilly, and Morgan came through the baggage claim with big smiles and our group was finally complete! We loaded up the vans and headed to the campsite, on the car ride the group Lars suggested some great tunes and the group all sang along the whole way to camp. At camp we got eight huge pizzas while getting to know each other over some silly ice breakers. Everyone was tired considering their long day of travel. We decided to make it an early night to ensure everyone was well rested for our first full day. We wrapped up the day with our first Moonup where we took time to reflect on the day and prepare for the following day. Ann Carden and Hugh were elected our first Leaders of the Day (LODs) for our first day of SCUBA. The first night closed with great successes when everyone fell right to sleep listening to the peaceful ocean waves and breeze in our beachside campsite
Day two would mark our first day of SCUBA diving, and we were so excited to kick off the trip with such a fun activity. We had a big day of learning and practice to prepare for so Berkley and Haven generously helped prepare yogurt Parfaits and peanut butter banana toast for breakfast. It was delicious. The LODs – Hugh and Anne Carden – did a beautiful job conducting our first ‘Morning Huddle’ sharing a quote and briefing the group on the morning game plan. We all packed up our belongings and heading towards Kona for our pool scuba diving lesson. One by one we loaded in the van and made the 40 minute journey toward Kona and were greeted by the cutest puppy named “Poppy” that William loved. We spent the first part of the day reviewing our online course and then hopped in the pool for the rest of the day to learn the basics of scuba – like breathing through a regulator, clearing water filled goggles, descending/ascending, and learning the proper protocol for putting our gear together in a safe manner. Learning scuba wasn’t easy at first, but once we caught the hang of things, we were smooth sailing. We had a sandwich lunch with plenty of snacks at the scuba outfitter. After we got back to our campsite, we were able to organize ourselves after arriving so late the first night and went over some group expectations and positive ground rules. Then we all huddled up in the ocean and took turns with Walker’s snorkel gear, looking at bright yellow and blue fish in the clear blue ocean. For dinner, we made stuffed peppers with ground turkey and sides of a rice/quinoa blend. Lars wasn’t even on kitchen duty but told everyone he could cook ground turkey “better than Gordon Ramsay” so he took over that job for the team. We had some time to play spike ball, read and relax, and organize our campsite. At the end of the day, LODs Hugh and Anne Carden asked everyone where their favorite place to travel and their goals for the trip. Afterwards we got ready for bed and got into our tents early in preparation for another early morning of scuba training!
It’s only morning three and the whole group already has the morning routine running smoothly! Everyone woke up and trickled out of their tents to their bags to get ready for the day. Mary Holine generously and eagerly was ready to help cook breakfast. On the menu for this morning was Eggs, Sausage, fruit and yogurt. Jack and Morgan helped crack all the eggs and prepare the plentiful breakfast buffet. Once breakfast concluded todays LODs Berkley and Haven prepped the group for our second day of scuba diving. The weather was clear and sunny making the scenic views during the drive spectacular! Walker and Lars teamed up as group DJ for the car ride to SCUBA requesting only the best songs. The group had another phenomenal day at SCUBA training! Ali absolutely crushed some of the hardest lessons we’ve had thus far at scuba including the dive with no mask evolution. Everyone is so stoked to be able to transfer their skills to the ocean tomorrow! After our SCUBA course, we explored the heart of Kona where they had a part of the front beach road closed off for an open air market! Hugh, Anne Corden, and Lilly took full advantage of this opportunity and found some great souvenirs! Will enjoyed snorkeling at our campsite so much that he got a whole new set to explore the world under the water at our campsite. We came back to the campsite and enjoyed a salad and pasta dinner on the beach! The group finished the night out by watching a very spontaneous show on the beach of the traditional Hawaiian *fire dance* and a great moon-up led by our LODs!
June 12, 2022
Hello Hawaiian Islands Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Hawaii. 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!