July 24, 2023
Day 11 was such a fun packed day but also an emotional one as we realized we were nearing the end of our trip. We began the morning with an early surf lesson with our favorite surf instructors and our girls made the very most of surfing in the rain. This was perhaps one of my favorite mornings. While one group surfed, the other walked through the coffee shops of Hanalei Bay and got some yummy snacks and then swapped with the other group. Mary Sadler really started getting the hang of it today and it was so much fun watching her catch waves. Mimi got her own private lesson with the king of instructors, Mitchell. Avery and Maggie started catching waves on their own almost immediately! Bradley provided some always needed smiles and goofiness and looked like a model on that board. After both groups finished surfing, we got a much needed treat at JoJos Shaved Ice and browsed around the shops in Hanalei Bay together. After an amazing morning, we decided to head to the beach for some relaxation. Maggie spotted a rope swing on the way there that we of course had to return to on the way back home – a very rewarding decision. Once we got back to camp, we had a team volleyball match and I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard. We then made poke bowls for dinner and had an amazing Moonup as always.
Day 12 was one of our earliest mornings, but was so worth it. We drove to a sacred beach on the Na Pali Coast where the locals claim is an opening to the spiritual world. We paired up in kayaks and began the morning by kayaking with a pod of spinner dolphins. We paddled 2.5 miles, stopping in a couple caves along the way, and took a long snorkel break before paddling back. As we were snorkeling, a few schools of the Hawaiian state fish swam around us – it was so cool! Josie and Jordan were some of the first to get in the water and were so excited to be there. All of the girls huddled together in the water and laughed while Mary Sadler attempted to do flips in her life jacket. We leisurely paddled back and ate lunch on the beach while chatting with our entertaining instructors. We then headed back to camp to shower and change before going to a local thrift store to pick out each others outfits for banquet. We had a fashion show flaunting our silly outfits and then headed to banquet dinner, which happened to be at an upscale restaurant in a resort, to the girls surprise. Cate and Lowndes fully embodied their banquet characters and were making everyone laugh. Our dinner was amazing, but even better was our parking lot dance party afterwards. On the way back to camp, we stopped off for one more round of JoJos Shaved Ice and then had a teary Moonup. Thank you all for sharing your daughters with us the past two weeks. We are going to miss these girls so much.
Sincerely,Avery, Helen and Gretchen
July 24, 2023
Day 7 was travel day where we said goodbye to the Big Island and headed off to Kauai. Cate, Jordan, and Josie were huge helping hands packing up camp and helped us save enough time to stop for lunch at our favorite coffee shop on the way to the airport! We had two 45 minute flights that were easy and filled with laughter. Once we arrived in Kauai, we had a little competition with the other Moondance group to see who could arrive and set up camp the quickest and I am very proud to say that we strategized heavily and won! After we set up camp, we hung out at the beach for the rest of the day before dinner and an awesome moonup.
Day 8 was our first full day in Kauai and it was a blast. We began the morning by surfing in our very favorite place, Hanalei Bay. We think Maggie might have found a new hobby. Avery was the first to catch a wave and nothing could stop once she got going! After surfing, we browsed through some shops in Hanalei Bay before heading back to camp for lunch. We surprised the girls with one of our favorite lunches – a charcuterie board! We then got back in the van and headed to ziplining. Many of the girls were brave enough to trust fall and zip line upside down! The zip line course features a swimming hole and we got to see Bradley show off some cool tricks off the rope swing. After ziplining, we headed back to camp to make a delicious Mediterranean bowl dinner and concluded the night with a good Moonup. Overall, a great day.
While day 9 was supposed to be our botanical garden tour which was canceled due to the storm, it was still an awesome day filled with impromptu surprises! We slept in and had a leisurely morning cooking eggs and breakfast sandwiches and then headed into town to explore and shop. After we were shopped out, we went on a brief walk around a waterfall in Wailua and posed for some group pictures. We then headed back to camp to chill and regroup for a bit before surprising the girls with a parking lot dinner party and a movie night at a local theater! Although we did not cook tonight’s dinner, it was one of my favorites because of the dance party that accompanied it. Mary Sadler showed off her stanky leg and there were many dance bombs thrown. The theater only plays one movie at a time, so we saw the Flash. It was a very special treat and was so fun.
Day 10 started early with an 8 mile hike up the Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the pacific), which the girls absolutely killed. Cate, Jordan, Mimi, and Maggie had good trail talk, making the hike way easier. Avery, Bradley and Lowndes were at the front. Lowndes rocked the hike and even picked up a little jog downhill! While the group was hiking, Mary Sadler and I joined the other Moondance group at the botanical gardens where Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed and gave ourselves our own self-guided tour. It was so beautiful and we surprisingly had the best weather despite the storm. After the group completed the hike, we surprised the girls with our favorite local shaved ice shop and then headed back to camp to make dinner. We concluded the night with quesadillas “and pizzadillas” and afterwards a great moonup.
Josie – Mom, Dad, and Amelia, I’m having such a great time here, but I miss you and can’t wait to tell you all about it. Give the dogs a kiss for me.
Cate — Hey squad I’m having so much fun and have made some really good friends. I love and miss y’all see you Monday tell the fam and Dave hi for me
Jordan – Having the best time here in Hawaii with such great people! Hope y’all have had fun on your trip, and I hope Mexico was a blast! Love and miss y’all, and I can’t wait to tell y’all about it. See you soon!
Avery- Miss y’all!! Tell sag we have the same dad for me and sorry emery I took ur after tan, I feel guilty every time I use it. Love y’all so so much
Bradley- yo. Hawaii is so much fun I’ve taken lots of pictures to give you guys a slideshow when I get home. Give shermy a kiss see you soon.
Maggie- hey mom, dad, Susan, and grandparents I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to tell y’all all about this trip!! However I really really don’t want to leave lol!! We should definitely move here!! I love y’all so much and thank you for giving me this opportunity!! See y’all soon…sadly
Mimi- hello family! I love and miss y’all!! Hawaii is lit.! Hang loose!!
Mary Sadler- Hey we lit. Happy bday Nanu.
Lowndes- Hey family! All is well, having a delightful time. See y’all soon! I love y’all!
July 19, 2023
Wow day 4 was a great day. We started the day off at Jacks Diving Locker working on our diving skills in the pool. After diving, we relaxed and swam at a beautiful, secluded beach where turtles bask in the sunlight – this behavior is seen only in Hawaii! As we were swimming, Bradley was the first to spot a turtle that swam up to us, and Mary Sadler got an awesome video of it! We then headed back into town to pick up some local street tacos for an early dinner before hopping on the boat for the manta ray night snorkel. We are still in awe of this night because it’s not guaranteed to see any manta rays but we got to see 14! Some of them swam so close to us that they actually touched a few of the girls! Not only was that surreal, but we also got warm showers on the boat afterwards so it was a very special day.
On day 5 we continued working on our diving skills, but graduated from the pool to the ocean! We completed two shore dives where we dove 40 feet and saw many endemic fish. Although this was the most physically demanding day on the Big Island, our instructors complemented the girls on their laser focus. After diving, we surprised the girls with some yummy local gelato before heading back to camp to relax for a bit. The girls wanted to all hang out together so we made an Eno cluster in Naptopia so everyone could be within a foot of each other. Avery kept us laughing with some funny stories. It was so fun! Meanwhile, Lowndes, Mimi, and Maggie helped on cook crew, where they made the most delicious spaghetti and meatballs for the group. Maggie said she was channeling her Italian grandmother’s cooking, so no wonder they were a hit!
Day 6 was yet another great one! We started the day off by hopping on the boat, setting up our diving gear, and heading to our first dive site. The boat ride was definitely one of the best yet. We ran into a large pod of pilot whales and our diving instructors said they had never seen them so close up with babies that young and in such perfect conditions. Our first diving site was called Garden Eel Cove and we did in fact see many eels, along with many cool fish. We took a quick lunch break on the boat then headed to our second dive site called the Golden Arches. This dive was a special one because the girls got to lead the instructors and they rocked it. Josie and Jordan were excellent under water communicators. Once we got back to the harbor, we were greeted with some ice cream and celebrated officially becoming certified by going out to dinner! We had a little van dance party afterwards and Bradley showed off some more great moves. We concluded the evening with a deeper Moonup in Naptopia and Mimi kept everyone laughing. Kudos to a great day and our last night on the Big Island!
Avery, Gretchen and Helen
July 14, 2023
Aloha! It’s arrival day and we are so excited to meet everyone. Our first arrival was Mary Sadler and we had the pleasure of getting to hang out with her for the day. Next Josie, Jordan, Cate and Lowndes trickled in, and we played games and got to hear about their hometowns while we waited for the rest to arrive. For dinner we picked up pizza from our favorite local restaurant and a couple of the girls were brave enough to try the Hawaiian flavor. After eating and playing more games, we waited for our very last arrival, Bradley and then hopped in the van and headed for camp! We are so happy that everyone arrived cheerfully, and we cannot wait to spend the next two weeks with your girls.
It is day 2, and we have a very chill and fun day ahead of ourselves. Many of the girls naturally woke up early and lounged in Naptopia asking each other for fun riddles until the rest of the group was awake. We started the morning with some scrambled eggs, bagel sandwiches, and Nutella croissants. Every girl lent a helping hand with cooking and cleaning without us even asking! We love their energy. We then left camp and headed towards the town of Hilo. With Mimi and Jordan as our first leaders of the day, they were able to get some good jams for us going in the van. Bradley and Avery kept us smiling by showing off their dance moves in the back of the van throughout the entire ride. We then made a spontaneous pitstop to do a waterfall hike at Akaka Falls along the way. It was so Beautiful! Once in Hilo, we stopped at a beach for lunch and browsed the nearby shops. Mary Sadler forgot pants for the colder hike to come later in the evening, so she bought some Hawaiian pants at a local thrift store that gave everyone a good laugh. We then drove to our volcano hike, Mauna Kea! Once we were there, we put on all of our warm stuff and hiked about 20 minutes to the sunset location. It was quite chilly, but everyone danced around to keep warm for the sunset. We took some photos and played psychiatrist, which Maggie was good at! After this, we then hiked back down and drove back to camp with a night ended in Moonup.
On day 3, we had an early morning for our first scuba diving day!!! We threw on our swimsuits.
and headed to Jack’s diving locker to meet Jeanne and Mel, our instructors. We put together some gear and had some yummy Turkey sandwiches for lunch before hopping in the water to learn some new pool skills. Everyone did so well. Once we finished at Jack’s, we headed back to camp to cook tacos for dinner and afterwards had a deep Moonup that the girls had highly requested. After, they really did not want the night to end, so we stayed up a little while longer in Naptopia sharing some good stories with each other before going to bed.
We have had an amazing first few days, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for the next few!!
Gretchen, Avery, and Helen
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!