July 25, 2023
Aloha one last time from the Hawaiian Islands! We’ve had an amazing past couple of days here on the Big Island, and we can’t believe how fast the trip has gone! Everyone is heading home filled to the brim with new memories and friendship but eager to see friends and family back home, and we can’t wait for them to tell you all about our adventures. Till then, enjoy the last update of our trip together!
After an amazing manta ray night snorkel, the group woke up eager to finish up their open water certification. We headed to the Harbor and jumped into our last day of training. We started by doing some navigation skills with the compass before gearing up and heading out on the boat. On the way to our dive site, Lala and Charlie stood at the front of the bow as the boat rose and fell with the waves – it definitely makes you feel on top of the world! At the dive site, everyone assembled their BCDs and masked up before doing a giant stride into the water. It was amazing to see how fast everyone picked up diving – like were like pros getting into the water! They put their newfound navigation skills into practice on the water’s surface before we ran our last skill test underwater. They all rocked it and passed! We then explored the Hawaiian reef and spotted some amazing creatures. Emme and Charlotte spotted some white polka dotted boxfish, and Quinten spotted a variety of peacock fish. The group also got to catch a glimpse of a field of garden eels, which stick up out of the sand up to 3 or 4 ft! After spotting some amazing creatures, we headed back to the boat for a lunch break.
Dive two of the day entailed each diving group to put their skills to the test by planning and running the dive themselves – with the instructor tailing close behind of course! It was an amazing site to explore, and Maddie and Michael did great at navigating their groups to and from the boat underwater. Ryan and Jackson spotted a 5 ft moray eel swimming near the ocean floor, and the whole group got to watch as it swam into some corral. Charlie, Ambroise also pointed out a school of Cornette fish swimming nearby, which was amazing! They’re these really long skinny fish, much like the trumpet fish which we also saw on this dive. One of the group’s favorite sightings of the day was the frog fish, which looks like a block of play dough was thrown against a wall – it blends in so well with the rocks! After that, we finished up our last dive and everyone officially became certified divers! To celebrate, we went and jumped into a natural pool formed in the volcanic rock down the road and finished up the day by watching a beautiful sunset on the most southern point of the US! Afterwards, we made dinner back at camp and wrapped up with moonup under the stars. Can’t believe we are already to our last day in Hawai’i!! Starting off the last day with a bang, we all woke up and enjoyed M&M and banana pancakes. What’s not to love?! Then we packed up our stuff and headed out for the day. Our first stop was a gorgeous black sands beach, a must do when in Hawai’i. Next we headed to a gorgeous waterfall for a picnic lunch and a quick swim. Wondering up to some pools above the waterfall, the group enjoyed jumping in the refreshing freshwater and exploring along the streams! Even though the water was a little cold, Kaitlyn jumped into the pools and enjoyed the gorgeous views! To end an epic last day, we drove to the top of Mauna Kea, then grabbed out jackets and blankets to walk to the very top of the volcano to watch the sunset. Above a layer of clouds, we watched as the sun went down and lit up the sky pink and purple. We cannot thank you enough for sending your kids on this adventure through Hawai’i with us!
MISS YALL ALREADY!!!
Owen, Maggie, and Anna
July 21, 2023
Our adventures on the big island have begun! We woke up on the south of the Big Island ready for a beautiful drive a day full of SCUBA pool dives. Upon arriving to the diving locker, everyone gathered their SCUBA gear to start lessons. Before putting gear on, we went through a swim test, Lala and Charlotte excelled in this and proved to us they take their competitive swimming careers seriously back at home! The first part of the PADI course is full of instructional courses and practicing skills. Michael and Charlie kept things interesting and exciting with their special handshake they had after successfully completing each skill. During lunch, Ryan and Jackson went for a leisurely swim in the pool and then had a push up competition. Since no one was actually counting, we decided to call it a tie. With superb attention and focus, we got through all 5 lessons of the day, Kaitlyn notably picked up on the skills exceptionally quickly. Back at camp, we had an epic game of flag football- Quinten and Maddie were fearless team captains and Ambroise led his team to victory with a technical run across the field. It was quite a magical for the “Shiny Shakas” team. Moonup was full of laughs and sharing amazing memories about the trip, followed by Charlotte leading us to a seemingly endless game of Mafia. We are so excited to start more diving tomorrow!
Pool day 2
After a good night’s rest, the group woke up wide eyed and ready to dive into day 2 of Padi training. As soon as we arrived at the dive locker, everyone assembled their dive equipment like a pro and were off in the pool to learn more diving skills. Everyone in the group took up scuba like a natural and we wrapped up training in a breeze. We took advantage of the afternoon by hanging out on the beach and taking in the beauty of the Hawaiian coastline. The water was so refreshing after a hot day! After cooling off and getting out of the sun, we got ready for a grill out on the beach. Jackson and Ryan helped grill hot dogs and burgers for the group, and we were sure to grab some great photos during the sunset. We jumped into moonup under the stars as Emmie brought a great day to a close as LOD!
The next morning we walk down to the peer for our shore dives. Everyone was super excited for their first dives in the ocean!! We loaded up all of our gear on the peer and entered the water from the beach, looking like navy seals. In the first dive of the day, Lala spotted an eel, and Emme and Ryan saw an octopus!! We all preformed some of our skills we learned in the pool, bringing us one step closer to be open water certified divers! We headed back in for lunch before our second dive of the day. Our second dive of the day we spent exploring the area, spotting many new fish to add to our diving logs. The afternoon was spent exploring the town and shopping around, before heading to the harbor for our manta ray night snorkel!! Before jumping in the dark water, we enjoyed a full double rainbow, the brightest one we’ve seen all summer. We all held onto paddle boards in the water with lights attached so we could see the water below us, and patiently waited. It didn’t take long until the first manga ray swam up, doing backflips under our paddle board! It was an amazing site to see such a huge creature so up-close. Tomorrow we head back out onto the boat for our final two dives out in the ocean. These last couple days are bittersweet, but we are so excited for the boat dives tomorrow, as they are usually a group favorite! We have had so much fun these past two weeks and can’t believe we only have a couple days left.
Reporting back soon!!
Anna, Owen, and MaggieP.S: You might have heard about a little storm heading our way, we are safe and sound- turns out it was only some light wind and rain, nothing we can’t handle!
Here are some shoutouts from the kids 🙂
Lala- hi I love and miss you all so much and can’t wait to tell you all about the fun things we have been doing and I hope you guys are doing good at home and can you please add spending money to my green light thank you 😊🤪
Ryan- hi I love and miss you all so much and can’t wait to tell you all about the fun things we have been doing and I hope you guys are doing good at home 🦧
Charlie- hi I love and miss you all so much and can’t wait to tell you all about the fun things we have been doing and I hope you guys are doing good at home, you guys should please switch my flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta so I can be with my best friends for a little longer, if not no worries. Also I don’t know how much money I have left on my card. Thanks
Emme- hi mom and dad I am having the best time ever love you guys can’t wait to tell you all about it😊😊
Michael-Hey mom, dad, and Madeline, miss y’all so much. I’m having so much fun here. See you guys soon.
Jackson- hey guys hope all has been good at home, just wanted to say I’m good and having a lot of fun. Can’t wait to see y’all soon🔥
Kaitlyn – hi mom and dad, I’m having so much fun, say hi to my brothers for me
Maddie- hi there mom and dad love and miss yall hope Beach is nice weather but I’m prob having way more fun here ha Bye love you lots!!!!
Charlotte-Hey Mom, Dad, Zoe, and Madeline… I love and miss y’all so much! Thank you for this awesome opportunity to go on moondance I am having so much fun! See you soon❤️
Ambroise: ÇA DIT QUOI L’ÉQUIPE ?
Moi ça va super, c’est vraiment les meilleures vacances de toutes ma vie
Je n’ai même pas les mots pour exprimer ce que je vis c’est juste un film.
J’espère que vous allez bien et que tout va pour le mieux pour toute la famille.
Vous me manquez très fort tous
Au moment où je vous écris je m’apprête à aller nager avec des raies.
Ps: Dites à toute la famille que je vais bien et aussi à papa car je sais pas si il recevra directement mon message.
Quentin- hi mom, dad, and Lucie, i Hope you guys are doing well, so far I’ve been Havin a ton of fun with all the activities we’ve been doing and I got a ton of gifts for y’all. I love you guys and see you soon.
July 18, 2023
Aloha from the Big Island! Can’t believe it has already been one week! Our time in Kauai flew by, but it was filled with adventure and fun memories for sure!! Day 4 we headed back to Hanalei Bay for another morning of surfing. Today, the waves were on the smaller side, so we paddled out to a surfing spot called Chicken Wing that even us leaders haven’t gotten to see this summer! It was a little bit of a farther paddle out to a reef where the waves were breaking, but this made for some pretty amazing views of the mountains and the beach! We even saw the start of a rainbow when arriving to the beach that morning! Out on the reef, Maddie showed off her skills catching some awesome waves! That afternoon, we headed to the other side of the island for some zip-lining. The views were absolutely gorgeous, zipping over bright green canyons with orange flowered trees. The views could even be recognized in some movies such as Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones! On the second zip line across, Michael and Ryan even attempted doing the zip line upside down with their feet in the air like Spider-Man! Between the second and third zip line, we stopped at a waterhole with the only ways of entering being the high jump or the rope swing! Lala worked on perfecting her flip from the rope swing, while Charlie attempted a flying squirrel jump from the high dive! We all enjoyed cooling off in the fresh water before heading to the final and longest zip line of the day. Kaitlyn especially loved the final zip line, which was Superman style, looking down across the beautiful fields and valley. We could even spot a waterfall in the distance on this zip line.
The next morning, we paddled the gorgeous Na Pali coast! We paddled 5 miles along the jagged cliff shore line to an island that can only be accessed by boat! Owen, Jackson, Ambroise, and Quinten hiked over to an awesome waterfall. Jackson even sat under the waterfall with the water massaging his back! Back at the beach, the rest of us enjoyed some beach walks and fun conversation before we loaded back up to kayak! Michael and Emme got down a great paddling routine and cruised along the shoreline. For dinner, we had a very special treat made by Quinten and Ambroise, traditional French crepes!!!! We listened to some French rap to set the mood, while Ambroise and Quinten began on the first course: ham, cheese, and egg crepes! We loved getting to taste one of Ambroise’s favorite meals from home, and they loved sharing this meal with the whole group!! Next came the dessert crepes of course. We all tried a classic butter and sugar French crepe, and Maddie and Charlotte also loved the chocolate and strawberry crepes! We all sat around the picnic table for hours, listening to music and enjoying crepes all together, to eventually playing cards later in the night!
We had a successful travel day from Kauai to the Big Island, and we are all settled in our new campsite under a bed of stars. On the plane rides, Charlotte worked on her friendship bracelet making skills, and everyone else soon joined in. We now all have a large collection of friendship bracelets growing on our water bottles! We are so excited to start scuba diving on the Big Island and all the fun that is to come! Talk to you soon!
-Maggie, Anna, and Owen
July 15, 2023
We have had an epic first couple of days getting to know each other! The group woke up a bit tired but ready to dive into our first day of activities on the island of Kauai. We took a short drive to the South Shore where we got an inside view of the Hawaiian jungle at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. There we joined some local Hawaiians to do a bit of service and take part in caring for this beautiful land. The gardens serve as a national research center for all tropical plants and species, and we are starting by clearing some of the land of palm fronds and old coconuts. Ambroise was a beast at carrying the palm fronds, and Michael and Charlie had a system of throwing coconuts like a football into the bed of a truck. After service, we took a tour of the gardens during which we learned all about the history of the island and the plants they brought with them to make the island more hospitable to humans. Ryan asked lots of good questions and the group was fascinated by all the uses of local flora and fauna.
After the gardens, we headed back to camp where we took advantage of the coastline and took our first dive in the Hawaiian Pacific. Kaitlin took to the waves like a natural and loved sitting out as the ocean ebbed and flowed. Quentin and Jackson were quick to grab the boogie boards, and the group of guys had a blast catching waves and riding them to shore. Charlotte, Emme, and the girls took a short walk down the beach to take in the beauty of the beach and enjoy the breeze off the water. We also taught the group how to play spike ball, which quickly led to some competitive games among the guys. We hopped right into dinner prep a bit later and chowed down on some delicious ramen stir fry! We finished out the day by hanging out on the beach, getting to know each other better, and having moonup under the stars led by Maddie and Quitan.
Day 2!!! Whoop Whoop!! We hit the water early this morning to surf the famous waves of Hanalei! Everyone absolutely shredded it, and we are so proud of everyone being able to stand up on the first day!! The first group of surfers were even welcomed by a pod of dolphins that they paddled out to see. After surfing we hit the town to explore and tried some of the famous Hawaiian açaí. After feeling fueled and refreshed, we headed to an awesome waterfall that we spent the afternoon jumping off of into the freshwater!
Day 3 we headed to the other end of the island and hiked the gorgeous Na Pali coast up the Nualolo trail, which is around an 8 mile hike! Hiking down into the canyon, we ate lunch with the most gorgeous view of the coastline traced by the green cliffs! The spirits were high as we hiked back along the trail, the boys even came up with their own hiking game that was a hit! Lala was a great team motivator, leading the pack and encouraging everyone along the way! On the way back to camp we stopped for some Hawaiian shaved ice, a perfect treat after a long day!! Back at camp, everyone enjoyed boogie boarding and playing spike ball, a new group favorite! We all enjoyed some breakfast for dinner to wrap up a great day! Jackson showed the group the perfect way to make scrambled eggs and Ambroise rated our take on an Oreo crepe, not quite as gourmet as they are in France. All in all we have had a great first couple days, and we cannot wait for more adventures to come!!
Maggie, Anna, and Owen
July 12, 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.
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!