July 11, 2022
The group woke up this morning ready for our first day of scuba training! We enjoyed a delicious breakfast of toast, fruit, and cereal on the beach while we took in the sunrise. We hopped in the van and headed to Jack’s diving locker while Teddy manned the aux playing only the best. Adair and Cece showed off their knowledge of scuba that they learned during the online training during the pre-training test. Simms cracked everyone up with his jokes during the swim test in the pool. The group did an amazing job getting used to breathing while underwater. Jack was a natural and was a great help in his group if anyone was struggling with a drill. The group enjoyed a lunch together a little before noon and Coalter discovered his new found love for Maui onion chips. We finished up our first day of scuba training and all sat around for a little bit sharing funny stories. The group decided to explore the town of Kona for a little bit before heading back to camp. Mary Teal loved exploring the open air market downtown Kona had to offer and Martha enjoyed a refreshing scoop of mango ice cream. Thomas was so excited to find a restaurant offering the 8th best yelp rated burger in the U.S that he vowed to try before leaving the island. On the car ride back to camp Saunders continued to make her famous bracelets that she has been creating for the group. At camp we enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner and concluded the night with a great moonup led by our awesome LOD’s Evelyn and Fran!
Happy Fourth of July! Everyone was waken up to the sound of ‘Born in the USA’ as Nate walked from tent to tent getting everyone up for the day to begin. It is day 2 of pool Scuba diving lessons and everyone was looking forward to learning more skills to use during their ocean diving. Everyone put on their most patriotic bathing suits and we headed off to Jacks diving locker. On the way to town we jammed out to American Hits to celebrate, before getting out of the car we all sang the Star Spangled Banner to kick off our scuba diving day. Pool scuba diving went great and everyone successfully learned all their in pool skills needed to be prepared for the ocean. After scuba we headed back to camp for an afternoon full of 4th of July felid day fun. Gracie set us a TYE DYE station for everyone to make a festive shirt, Adair impressed us with her artistic abilities right away. Next we got into the games! To start us we split the group into teams of 3 and they got pumped up to complete in some friendly competition. First up was a spike ball tournament where Teddy, Jack and Saunders took the lead, second was cup ball and Coalter, Cece and Martha got a win. The four teams went head to head in games of paddle ball and Simms, Adair and Evelyn were crowed the winners for that round. The silliest yet most competing event of the day by far was the potato sack races. We wrapped up our field day festivities by having the teams pair up and create skits to preform before Moonup. While the kids rehearsed us leaders prepared a traditional American cook out for dinner! After the kids chowed down they insisted on more rehearsal time to prefect their acts. Skit night began and Thomas had everyone dying laughing right away as he re-enacted his scuba diving lessons. Adair, Saunders and Evelyn cracked us all up with their dance moves pretending to be the boys. Followed by the grand finally of Simms, Teddy and Jacks performance to ‘California girls’ by Katy Perry that had us all rolling around laughing. After the goofiness subsided Adair and Martha lead us through our most meaningful Moonup thus far, where our kids were able to grow closer together in bonds of friend.
Everyone woke up this morning ready to go scuba diving in the ocean for the first time! Gracie brought out some bread, sunbutter, croissants, fruit, yogurt, and granola while everyone discussed what they were both nervous for and excited about for the day ahead. LODs Caulter and Adair***** led us in morning meeting and eased everyone’s nerves by telling us how to be prepared for the day. We then drove to a beach in the town of Kona and met our scuba instructors there with all of our gear. Everyone loaded up on sunscreen and listened to the instructors as they showed us images and information about the fish we could be seeing in the water today, including the trumpet fish, the tobie fish, and the crown of thorns we star! When we got into the water, we did our safety checks and began to notice all of the interesting things in our sea environment, like sea urchins, bright yellow fish, and various types of coral. We got to go in deeper into the water and became more and more comfortable staying “neutrally buoyant” while we worked through our skills that will earn us the certification. Fran, Adair, MT, and Teddy posed in some Go Pro photos that we can’t wait to see in a couple weeks! We were ecstatic about all the cool things we saw while underwater when we came up to the surface, and discussed what types of fish we noticed swimming around us. We then had sandwiches, oranges, pineapple, chips, and granola bars for lunch while staying hydrated, and were able to spend some time relaxing in the sun before we had to go back in the water for more fun! Simms took this time to relax everyone by offering to crack their backs. After lunch, Molly and Thomas took a detour to get him checked out as he wasn’t feeling his best (he is recovered and feeling great now), while the rest of the crew went in for their second dive. Everyone felt much more confident in the water this time, and is ready for tomorrow when we will jump off the boat to scuba!
After packing up our gear and saying goodbye to the instructors, we were able to hang out and explore more of the town of Kona. We then got some authentic tacos from a small, hole in the wall, delicious restaurant in Kona and drove to the harbor to get on the boat for the Manta Ray Night Snorkel!
Our boat captain, David, was very knowledgeable about the manta rays off the coast of Kona and outlined the expectations for our group. We held onto surfboards with lights under them (which are meant to attract plankton) while the manta rays swam close to us and did flips in the water! It was truly an unforgettable memory for these Moondancers on one of their last days in Hawaii. We are looking forward to getting on a boat again tomorrow for our final day of scuba!
The group woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the beach. We had a delicious breakfast and got ready for our final day of SCUBA training. The LOD’s Coalter and Evelyn made sure everyone had their bags packed correctly and ready to go before getting in the van. We drove to the Harbor in Kona while listening to some tunes that Mary Teal and Fran requested. When we arrived Jack and Teddy did a fantastic job helping our dive outfitter unload all the gear. As we set up our dive gear Adair got the group pumped up for the adventure we were all about to embark on. We all hopped on the boat and headed out to our dive location while Thomas sipped on the best Arnold Palmer Hawaii had to offer. When we got to our location Cece was the first one in the water ready to go. The water was crystal clear and we saw so many fish. Simms was fascinated by the lizard fish he saw. We finished our first dive and had lunch on the boat and told stories about all the things we saw in the water. Saunders and Martha both loved the rainbow parrot fish they saw on the dive. We got back to the harbor and finished up the last of our paper work to get our PADI open water certifications. We headed back to camp and had a delicious dinner and closed out the day with a great moonup on the beach.
After the last few days of nothing but scuba and our big boat day yesterday, it was time to change things up for our last adventure together. Today our group would be heading into the infamous Greensands beach of Hawaii. Everyone was able to get a well deserved restful night of sleep and wake up leisurely this morning. Thomas and Evelyn briefed everyone on the days plan and what they should be packing in heir day packs for our hike. Nathan set up a lunch station and everyone made up a sandwich to enjoy once we hiked into the beach. The drive to Greensands beach was down a beautiful scenic road, which had all the kids looking out the window at the views. We arrived at the trail head and off we went with Thomas, Teddy and Coalter leading the pack. The hike was through a breathtaking landscape that was greenery on the inland and black lava rock lining the coast line. Once we arrived to the valley of green sand the kids were so excited to jump into the clear blue waters below. Teddy was the first one in jumping right, followed by Simms having a blast catching wave after wave on his bogey board along side Coalter. The boys all boogy boarded and body surfed the waves and couldn’t get enough of the fun. The water was the perfect temperature for a refreshing dip and swim in the waves for all the girls. Jack had fun with Molly taking underwater pictures on the go pro. Down in the valley the waves were gusting all day, so we had to be sure to secure down all our towns, snack bags and personal belongings. We watched beach goers hats and shirts to flying up the hill all morning, and before we knew it Thomas’s new hat went soaring straight up the hill. Thomas and Simms made it their mission to go save the hat, and so they did. They went crawling up the green sandy hill until they reached the top to retrieve the hat. Once they made their way back down we could all agree we’d had enough of the wind and sand. We packed up and hiked back to the vans, the hike was full of great conversations and exchanges of laughter. After the beach we headed to Volcano National Park to check out the national landscapes and canons rated by the Volcanos, erosion, and growth over the years. One our drive home we stopped to have dinner and all enjoyed our meal around a big patio table. Then jammed to some chill country music all the way back to camp. Our last evening concluded with a meaningful and connecting Moonup lead by our LODs.
This morning we woke up with a bittersweet feeling radiating throughout our campsite as today was our last day together as a Moondance crew. We had our breakfast of granola, yogurt, cereal, bagels, and pineapple while the LODs, Jack and Cece, conducted our morning huddle. Our plan for the day was simple: get packed up, clean up camp, drive to a thrift store to pick out a funny outfit, enjoy our last meal together, and then head to the airport. Everyone took on a different role while we cleaned up camp – Thomas helped Nate get some of the tents down while Adair helped put the tents into their bags. Everyone was able to fill out their course evaluation at a picnic spot in the shade, reflecting on their experience with Moondance and providing us with helpful feedback. They also wrote a list of “25 things I want to do in my life” and a letter to themselves that Moondance will send them in the future. Who knows what will be going on in the world when this group receives those letters! After doing one final sweep, we drove to a thrift store to buy some silly outfits for our lunch at a restaurant. Evelyn found a cute Hawaiian strapless dress, Mary Teal found a skirt that made her look like she was a Disney Princess, and Thomas and Saunders sported matching red Hawaiian shirts. As we walked into the restaurant for lunch, we turned a lot of heads! The restaurant was right next to the marina and we had a beautiful view of some nice boats and the blue Hawaiian water that we had been enjoying over the past two weeks. The food was awesome – many people followed Martha’s lead and got the chicken while Thomas got probably his 15th burger of the trip. It was delicious! After our meal, we headed to a local park where we had our final Moon Up led by Jack and Cece where we were able to reflect on our journey as a group and our individual takeaways from our adventure in Hawaii. Then we had an awards ceremony – the paper plate superlatives! Saunders was awarded with class cutie, Adair was most likely to become a Moondance leader, Jack was most likely to put a smile on your face, and Teddy was most likely to become an Olympic Athlete, just to name a few. We then used our paper plates to write each person a “nug” or compliment to finish off our ceremony. After the park, we drove to the airport where we met Jack and Adair’s families as they are continuing a vacation in Hawaii with their Moondancers! We got everyone else checked in and sent them on their way – it was sad to leave each other but we are so grateful for the amazing memories we made here! We hope to keep in touch with everyone and want y’all to know that we love you all and are always here for you!
All the best,
Gracie, Molly, and Nathan
July 3, 2022
Thursday Day 5
Today was an extremely exciting day! We started the day rising before the sun to head to our sea kayaking launch off spot in Hanalei, Kauai. The whole group was prepped and ready with their waters, sunscreen and snacks for a full day on the water. Once we arrived to our spot we were greeted by our amazing Hawaiian outfitters that would be guiding us down the cost. In pairs of two we were boat by boat pushed out to sea for our adventure to begin. The first mile breezed by and before we knew it we were ready to explore some sea caves, that are only accessible by kayak. The first cave was a big dark cavern that Teddy and Martha fearlessly lead us into quickly followed by Simms and Fran. The whole group gathered up and admired the high walls and cave ceiling. Next came a cave named ‘double doors’ because we got to enter one cave and circle around and pop out a different side. This cave was like a real like amusement park water ride, with wave and a waterfall, it was spectacular. Thomas was in awe after this experience. Our last stop before lunch was a cave that had a open ceiling and this cave was truly breathtakingly beautiful. Upon entering the water was the most marvelous crystal blue color with a large sea stone rock in the middle. Cece explained it to look like where mermaids would live. Saunders, Coalter and Evelyn all were excited with the opportunity to swim and jump off the middle rock. After a long 12 miles the whole crew was ready for lunch, we headed over to a kayak only beach and enjoyed our cold drinks and sandwiches. To finish off our sea kayaking we pushed through 5 final miles over calm crystal clear waters. Along the way we saw sea turtles and an echoing valley. After sea kayaking everyone was feeling very accomplished and proud of all their hard work. The group was treated to a well deserved dinner out at a Hawaiian restaurant, where they all sat together sharing stories and laughs. The moral was high this evening so we headed to a near by beach to conclude the big day with a beach front Mooonup. Our LODs Thomas and Saunders lead us through a thoughtful conclusion to our day.
Day 6 July 1
We started off the first morning of July waking up at a more reasonable hour than the day before, everyone was happy to get a full nights rest! For breakfast, we enjoyed some pineapple, cereal, bagels, and toast and got ready to head out to our surf lesson at Hanalei Bay. We met our instructors on the ocean and were able to catch waves on our own today because we had learned the basics during our first lesson. The instructors pointed out Teddy and Coalter for catching the most waves and being the most avid surfers in group #1! Thomas also surfed on three surfboards that were stacked on top of each other! While one group was surfing, the other group would go explore the small surf town of Hanalei where they have some cute t-shirt shops, a healthy juice bar, and surf shops to check out. Adair, Martha, Evelyn, and Fran stopped at a local juice store and tried “the best gluten free pumpkin bread” they’ve ever had. After surf lessons, we drove to Princeville area for a lunch of açaí bowls and sandwiches which were delicious! Then, we made our way to the zip lining outfitter and did three zip lines, one of them is the longest in Hawaii at a length of 3/4 of a mile! The guides also brought us to a water hole on their property where the group jumped off of a 16 foot cliff and ziplined into the water. The fresh water felt amazing after being in salt water for so long, Evelyn said it was her favorite moment thus far! We also enjoyed from fresh strawberry guava straight from the bushes around the property. After a fun day, we returned back to camp and enjoyed a burger cookout with chips and salsa and a side of veggies! Our leaders of the day, Simms and Cece led us through our last moonup in Kauai.
July 2nd Travel Day!
Today our group would be wrapping up our time in Kauai! The group was sad to be leaving the beautiful garden island of the Hawaiian islands, but were excited to embark on their new journey to the big island. First thing in the morning Jack, Cece and Mary Teal helped leader Gracie to prepare a pancake breakfast. Jack was a pro on the griddle and was grinding out perfectly cooked pancakes. After breakfast the group worked together as a team to pack up all the tents and clean up camp to better than we found it. It was a great time for some group bonding while we waited on lunch, we listened to music, made bracelets, and shared stories and laughs. During this time Thomas, Coalter, Simm and Teddy all pilled into the same Eno hammock until it came tumbling down making everyone be die belly laughing. Once we finished up lunch we did a final sweep of camp and headed off into town. We celebrated wrapping up a great full of adventure week in Kauai with a cool sweet fe heading to the airport. We got through security and into the air seamlessly and before we knew it all the kids were giving a round of applause for our landing in Kona, HWI. We went to a local spot to grab a bit to eat and took a quick trip to the grocery store to replenish our food supplies. All the girls got matching pajama dresses and the boys got some big blow up bouncy ball. The whole gang was excited to see our new beach front campsite and set up their gear. Once we we’re all situated and made this camp site our new home it was time for Coalter and Mary Teal to lead us through our first Moonup in the big island. Everyone headed off to bed excited for their first day of scuba diving in the pool tomorrow.
We are so excited to begin our second half of the trip in Kona and so pumped for all the kids to get their PADI scuba certification, it’s gonna be an amazing accomplishment and cannot wait to watch them learn and grow.
Gracie Nate, Molly
Happy Birthday Alex! – Coalter
Happy Birthday Mom I love you – Teddy
I’m making so many unforgettable friendships and memories – Cece
I miss harry – Evelyn
I love you mom and dad 🙂 – Jack
I lost my sunglasses – Simms
Thank you so much for sending me on this trip I love you & I’m having a great time – Adair
I love you and I miss you I’m having so much fun – Fran
I hope everything is going great at home, I miss you – Saunders
I’m having a great time, I hope Millie isnt driving you crazy – Martha
What’s uppppp miss you – Thomas
I love and miss you guys so much, I’m having fun! tell everyone in highlands I say hi -Mary teal
June 29, 2022
Aloha Hawaiian Islands Families! We are so excited for you to keep up with our travels!
Airport Day!!!! We could not be more excited for the group to join us in Hawaii this evening, so we got up bright and early to prepare! Nate, Molly, and I headed to camp to set up the tents and get everything situated so the evening would run as smoothly as possible . Next, we headed to Costco & stocked up on a verity of goodies and nutritious food for our group to cook & enjoy together. We then set up shop in Delta baggage claim with snacks, a speaker, and games as we eagerly waited. Our first friend to join us was Evelyn and she brightened our day with her smile and excitement for the trip. Martha and Thomas came as a pair soon after and we all shared stories and got to know each other as we snacked. Molly went and fetched some pizza for the group and Adair, Saunders, Mary Teal and Fran all landed in Hawaii! The group was coming together! Next was Cece, who arrived in a different baggage claim as I went to get her, she greeted me with a hug. When we returned to the group and Coalter, Simms and Teddy had arrived! They ate much needed pizza and were ready to head to camp after a long day of travel. We were pumped when Jack arrived late in the evening and our gang was officially complete!
Everyone loaded up into the vans and we headed to camp for a restful night of sleep. Once we arrived the group was pleased to see the beach front camping location & feel asleep listening to the sound of the ocean waves.
We woke up on our first morning in Hawaii to a beautiful sunrise. We had a great breakfast of yogurt granola and fruit to prepare us for a morning surf session. We began our drive to Hanalei Bay jamming to out to T-Swift and some killer classics requested by Cece. When we arrived at the beach, group 1 got their boards and prepared to get in the water. Thomas and Martha looked like absolute naturals on the board. Group 2 spent some time playing group games and swimming in the water. Adair and Saunders caught some great footage on their GoPros during the swim. Once group 2 started surfing Evelyn was one of the stars of the show catching one of the best waves of the day. Group 1 explored the town of Hanalei where Jack indulged in quite the burrito. After getting back to the campsite for lunch Mary Teal showed off her kitchen skills by helping prep all the food for the group. We then played an intense game of “Nukem” on the volleyball courts where Simms and Coulter were the team MVP’s! We had a much-needed dinner of delicious Mediterranean bowls. Fran impressed the group by preparing a dinner bowl worthy of being on the cooking channel. Thomas cracked everyone up with his groovy dance moves during group games on the beach. We ended the night with a touching moonup and watching fireworks coming from down the beach.
This morning we woke up early and had a delicious breakfast of cereal, fruit, granola, and yogurt before driving an hour and a half to the trail head for our 7.5-mile hike! Adair and Jack served as our first student leaders of the day (LODs) and gave us a rundown of what the day would look like and what we were to bring with us. As we drove towards the parking lot, we were all blown away by the stunning views of the Waimea Canyon from the car. We filled up our water bottles and were on our way – Jack was at the front of the pack the entire way to our lunch spot, serving as a source of strength for the rest of the group behind him. Fran and Mary Teal also stayed towards the front, taking on the new challenge with grace and confidence. Thomas cracked us all up by wearing his new floral bucket hat that says “Kauai” on it – and made us proud as it protects him from the sun! We walked 3.5 miles to a lookout spot where we could see the Na Pali Coast, where we will be sea kayaking for a few days, and a view of the Waimea cliffs. It was truly breathtaking! During our lunch break, Saunders and Cece took full advantage of the beautiful scenery and took many photos on their Go Pros and cameras which they can’t wait to share with their family and friends back home. We ate the sandwiches we packed this morning with many snacks, making sure that everyone was full and ready for the way back to the car, another 3.5 miles! Teddy and Simms led the way, and we were so proud of them for pushing themselves to go fast on the uphill sections. On the way back, we experienced some challenges as this way had a much longer uphill section, but Adair was there as LOD to encourage and lift everyone’s spirits. When we got back to the parking lot, we were lucky to stop in the mountain lodge shop and grab some Gatorades and ice cream! Next, the LODs, Jack and Adair decided on the plan for the rest of the day – explore the town of Hanapepe, known as “the biggest little town,” which had some interesting art galleries, shave ice shops, and gift stores. Evelyn, Teddy, Simms, and others got shell necklaces/bracelets to immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture. After spending some time in the cute town, we drove back to camp and hung out together while preparing pasta and salad for a nutritious dinner! To end the day, Jack and Adair led us in a meaningful moon up. We can’t wait for our service day tomorrow!
Gracie , Nate and Molly
June 27, 2022
Hello Hawaiian Island 2B Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Lihue. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventures.
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!