July 8, 2023
Today was such an exciting day! We kicked things off with a fun van ride to the dive shop. After arriving, the group split into two. The open-water students headed to the shore to have their first ocean dive, while the advanced open-water students made their way to the boat! The open-water students were so excited to finally be allowed to dive in the ocean. Our advanced group geared up on the boat and hopped in the water to get to work on their first set of certification dives: peak performance buoyancy. After successfully completing our tasks, hovering effortlessly above the reef and gliding through hula hoops, we reunited with the rest of the group.
Following a fun day of scuba, the group returned to camp. We played a fun game of family feud. Boots was a STAR in family feud and his team brought home the win. We finished the evening with breakfast for dinner led by Cole, Chris and Karina.
We then sat down for a thoughtful moonup and said our goodbyes to Max.
The next morning, we woke up SO EXCITED to all finally be able to go out on the boat together. We had two more dives to finish before verification, and the group took it in stride! Our group loved diving through the famous gold arches. Liza lead the open-water group and did a great job. Charlie was in charge of checking air and did a great job maintaining the safety of the group. Maggie spotted some beautiful fish as she served as our underwater navigation and Chris did a wonderful job prepping the group for the dive.
Meanwhile, the advanced open-water girls scanned the ocean floor, documenting the fish and fauna they came across as part of the final dive required for certification. Georgia, Cole, and Karina are happy to announce that they are finally Advanced Open Water Scuba Divers! Burke joined the group as well, just for fun, and ended up guiding us toward a massive turtle! Even when the water got cold, he carried on, finishing our longest dive even when half of the group retreated to the boat!
Following a fun day of scuba, we went into town and picked up some pizza. We ate pizza by the volleyball court and enjoyed one last night in Kona together. Then, we headed back to the dock to head out on our night manta ray snorkel! We had all been looking forward to this activity all trip long and it did NOT disappoint. After a stunning sunset ride out to a secluded cove, the group once again took to the water, this time floating from an illuminated surfboard in the hopes of spotting some manta rays. Sure enough, after a couple of minutes of patiently waiting, a set of 5,000-pound mantas came within feet of our fins! One even did a back flip out of the water—something that our guide said he has seen only a couple of times. We were all amazed at the beauty and grace of the rays, it was simply the best way to close out our trip. On the way back to camp, we stopped at the gas station and taught Georgia and Cole how to pump gas! We got back to camp and finished the day with our last Moonup under a full moon.
The final morning, we cleaned up camp and enjoyed donuts and breakfast sandwiches. We gave out superlatives and enjoyed a fun last morning together. Then, we went to a local thrift shop and picked out some silly costumes to wear to our banquet lunch. Boots and Hampton picked out the silliest outfits! We had a beautiful seaside meal, then headed to the airport for our final goodbyes.
We had so much fun on this trip and are so grateful to have spent this time with such special young adults. Thank you all for sharing your loved ones with us, we love them all.
Sending our best,
Atkins, Hallie and EC
July 5, 2023
Aloha! We have been having an amazing time here in Kona! The Big Island has been treating us well and we are so excited to be here. Our first morning, we had a leisurely morning before heading to Green Sands Beach. Green Sands Beach is a beautiful beach with (surprise) GREEN sand!! We hiked for about an hour and a half to arrive at the beach, and thoroughly enjoyed swimming before hiking back out. The guys felt super motivated and decided to RUN all the way back. They listened to motivating tunes and got a great sweat in. The run was led by Charlie and Chris!
Following Green Sands beach, we stopped by camp for a quick lunch before hitting the road to Hilo. On the way to Hilo, Liza and Cole had a ton of fun playing a game in the car and telling riddles. Once we arrived in Hilo, the group enjoyed some unique Hawaiian Ice Cream. It was a hit! We had so much fun exploring Hilo, shopping around, and taking in the beautiful sights. Hampton had fun spotting lizards across the town!
Next, we hit the road again to drive up to Manua Key. We enjoyed watching the sunset from the mountain top. Georgia, Karina and Maggie had a fun photo shoot. Once the sun went down, we had a beautiful moonup under the stars. Moonup 9,000 feet above sea level sure is special!
The next day, we woke up bright and early to head down to Jack’s Diving Locker. Fun Fact: Multiple members of the Grateful Dead were certified at this shop! Their slogan is “grateful diver”. Upon arriving at the shop, the group went through some safety protocol and enjoyed learning about how to scuba dive. After the fun morning of scuba, we explored the town of Kona. Georgia, Cole and Liza enjoyed learning how to hula dance. It was a wonderful afternoon of adventure!
Next, we headed back to camp and our wonderful cook crew of the day, Georgia, Hampton, and Burke, began cooking some tacos! It was a huge hit. Following our taco dinner, we had a thoughtful moonup lead by our leaders of the day (Boots and Georgia) and went to bed early to prepare for our second day of scuba.
Today’s leaders of the day were Max and Cole! They woke up the group by playing some fun music to start the day with some giggles. Next, we hit the road excited for another day of scuba. We spent the car ride listening to classic American rock to set the tone for the Fourth of July! It was such a fun morning. The advanced scuba group hit the boat and went out on the water to begin learning about underwater navigation. The open water group went to the pool to continue learning about how to safely breathe underwater.
After a fun morning of scuba diving, we went to the beach to celebrate the 4th of July! We had a few fun surprise activities such as face painting, bracelet making, beach games, glow sticks and more. We were able to spend this time with HWI 2D, it was so fun to make some new friends! Finally, we went to a new beach spot for a sunset picnic. We listened to classic rock and enjoyed watching the sunset over the water. It was such a special night. Lastly, we went to Kona to enjoy a firework show over the bay. It was such an amazing fourth of July!
Atkins, Emma Clark, and Hallie
July 2, 2023
Aloha, friends and family of Hawaii 2B!
We hope you all have been enjoying your summer so far. We have been having a blast in Hawaii! We started off day 4 with a garden tour of the National Tropical Botanic Garden. We saw a beautiful waterfall and spent some time admiring the incredible land. Also, we were able to help out at the site! We spent a few hours laying gravel on a walking path, and weeding. It was a fun activity, the group enjoyed working as a team. Karina helped hype up the group throughout the service work and displayed great leadership skills throughout the day! Chris was also a superstar and helped fill all of the buckets with gravel, and initiated an assembly line.
Following our service work, we returned to our campsite for an afternoon of fun. We spent the afternoon swimming in the ocean, hanging out on the beach, setting up enos, and playing spike ball. For dinner Cole, Karina, Max, and Chris whipped up some delicious chicken quesadillas.
The next morning, we woke up ~dark~ and early (before the roosters crowed) for our drive over to the West side of Kauai to Sea Kayak the famous Napali Coastline. The group absolutely crushed the 10 miles of kayaking. Maggie and Boots absolutely crushed it, leading the group the entire way there. We had a picnic on a secluded beach that was only accessible by boat. On the kayak back Liza and Atkins took the caboose truly living in the moment while singing songs and taking in the views. Once we hopped back into the van, we noticed it was stuck in the sand and the boys hopped out and pushed us out. It was a great team building experience. For dinner we went to Jimmys Grill, eating some local food while listening to some live music. Everyone loved having a special local food stop.
The next day, we started the morning surfing! Boots did absolutely amazing and went for every wave that came his way. Burke was excited to surf and did a great job as well. We rocked it! The group enjoyed exploring the shops near the surfing beach and admiring the beautiful views. After some wonderful acai bowls for lunch, we headed to the zip lining course! We went down 3 long zip lines above the beautiful sights of Kauai. Cole and Georgia were superstars and overcame their fears of heights. Every single student went down all 3 zip lines! The last one is the longest Zipline in Hawaii and is a mile long. Charlie jumped off one of the zip lines backwards and the guide explained that it was the most “legendary” jump he has seen before! It was a blast.
After a fun day, we headed back to camp and enjoyed one last evening at camp. We loved our time in Kauai!
The next morning, we went to the airport to fly to Kona for the next chapter of our adventure. While at the airport, Hampton and Max initiated card games and the group enjoyed some sweet treats. After arriving to the big island, we enjoyed some group games, picked up groceries, and moved into our new campsite! We are so excited to be here and cannot wait to see what’s next.
-EC, Atkins, and Hallie
June 28, 2023
Aloha, friends and family of Moondance 2B! The group has arrived and we are all so excited to be here together. Following a long travel day, we picked up some pizza and headed to our campsite. We had a great first moon up and went to bed early, resting up for our first full day.
We woke up the next morning ready for a great first day of surfing. Our Leaders of the Day, Maggie and Hampton, helped load everyone in the car before we headed to Hanalei Bay to receive a helpful surf lesson from our instructors. Next, we jumped in the water and tried it out ourselves! Karina and Hampton were absolute naturals and did an outstanding job. They even showed off a few tricks! Hallie and Chris caught a sick wave together and were able to seamlessly toss the GoPro to each other mid-surf. They caught an amazing video of the moment!
We then loaded up and headed back to camp for some lunch! After a gourmet charcuterie board and sandwiches, the group hopped back in the van and scouted out Secret Beach, a secluded oceanside spot fifteen minutes off a twisting path. The boys discovered their newfound obsession: bodysurfing. We had an awesome time catching some waves and rays!
Next up, we picked up our final member of our fabulous group—BURKE! We were thrilled to finally complete our squad; he has already added so much to our dynamic! When we arrived back at camp, Liza, Charlie, and Georgia took charge of the kitchen, whipping up some pasta and chicken fried rice (eclectic mix, I know). We ate, had a pleasant moon up, and hit the hay.
The next morning was an early one as we headed to the west side of the island for the Nualolo Trail Hike. Our LODs, Boots and Liza, helped hype up the crew before what was one of the most physically demanding days of our trip! Luckily, the weather was beautiful, and we got to take in some absolutely stunning views of the Na Pali Coast as we ate our lunch. Max even remarked how the view from the trail looked more like a green screen than a real landscape! After hauling up the steep incline of the path back to the car, we headed towards Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of Hawaii,” where we took in yet another outstanding view.
We are having a truly awesome time together thus far. Thank you for sharing your amazing kids with us, we cannot wait to see what the next couple of weeks holds!
June 26, 2023
Hello Hawaiian Island Families!
We heard from our leaders and 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. They are excited for their final member of the group to arrive tomorrow after some flight delays!
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!