March 20, 2023
Wow, what a week! Mallie, Hannah, and I just dropped the girls off at the airport and watched them walk through security with teary eyes and very full hearts. It would be an understatement to say it has been an unforgettable week in Maui. As leaders, we always say you know the trip was a success when there isn’t a dry eye in the group, and we knew that we did something right when the girls were crying at the security line; it had finally set in that the trip was over. We are so grateful we had such a stellar group of gals to pioneer the first ever Moondance Maui Spring Break. Since the last update, we have had many, many adventures. Here are some of our highlights:
Waterfall rappelling was an activity that everyone was excitedly looking forward to. Although it was out of everyone’s comfort zones, the girls eagerly got in the van and we embarked on our journey up the mountain to our rappeling spot. It was a long and windy road, but the views and experiences certainly made it worth it! Caneel became a pro and rappelled right into the waterfall with no fear. Don’t worry, I got it all on GoPro. After we finished up, we enjoyed an awesome picnic in the rainforest. We then headed to the beach for some fun in the sun – Bo taught us how to body surf – the waves were gnarly but it was so fun! We cooked some hotdogs and burgers back at camp, had Moonup, and went to bed, eager for another adventurous day.
Windsurfing was on the agenda for the next day. Although it wasn’t the best conditions (the weather was TOO perfect – a true blue bird day and not much wind) all of the girls tried their hand at the sport and Elizabeth even advanced on to windsurf without the guides’ help! We then switched to paddle-boarding and held some relay races; Mia and Mallie’s team took home the prize in the final race with their awesome paddling. After we wrapped up our morning on the water, we headed back to camp for lunch and a mid-day siesta. Once everyone was feeling well-rested, we went to our next activity: a coconut cooking class! We learned the differences in tastes and usages for the different ages of coconuts and the girls helped make coconut water, coconut flour, and coconut stir fry! Harper was particularly good at picking up the methods of the art and chopped her coconut noodles to perfection. We ended the evening enjoying coconut ice cream as we watched the sun fade over the organic farmland.
It was a very early wakeup call the next morning – we had to be up and ready for our sunrise snorkel! The girls were troopers, and we never heard a single complaint of them being sleepy (proud moms) because they were so excited to start the day. We loaded up on the boat and headed out to sea to Molokini Crater, one of the best places to snorkel in the world. The ride over was so dreamy – we blasted music (Justin Bieber Radio) and sang and laughed the entire way. We would look over and Maddy looked like she was in a movie, grinning from ear to ear singing at the top of her lungs. We stopped the ride mid-way because we had some friends join us in the ocean – humpback whales were breaching right in front of us! The girls were in awe as we watched them majestically surface the water. Once we reached the crater, we anchored the boat and hopped in the water clad in our snorkel, fins, and masks. We saw an array of sea creatures (no golden retrievers this time) and coral reefs. At one point, we looked over and saw Lilly swimming around, so excited to see what’s underneath the surface of the water. She would pop up smiling so wide, truly exemplifying our “live in the moment” philosophy. We then rode over to another side of the crater and Ellie (safely) back flipped off the boat! The girls were truly having so much fun.
After we completed our snorkel tour, we headed back to the van, piled in, and Mallie, Hannah, and I surprised the girls with a stop at Krispy Kreme. I’ve never heard girls shriek in excitement so loud. We then headed to the other side of the island for our last official activity: a six line zipline tour through the rainforest. We split up into two groups and learned the safety rules to the activity and headed out! Our sweet Sara was really nervous leading up to it, but she bravely decided she would give the first line a try. Turns out, she LOVED IT!!!! She decided to continue with the entire six-line tour and her confidence grew with each line conquered. She even went out on the longest and tallest suspension bridge in Hawaii to look out at the bamboo forest. Needless to say, that was a WOW moment for the entire group. Ela was especially encouraging and continuously cheered her on throughout the tour. It’s so special to see these friendships blossom.
We capped off the day with one final beach afternoon. We went to the coast and watched sailboats bobb up and down and the sun paint the sky in radiant colors. The girls laughed and shared stories, and us leaders sat back and enjoyed the community we helped foster in just one short week. Truly a special moment. After sunset, we went back to camp to make southwest mac and cheese (and a rice bowl for Ela!) We had Moonup shortly after and hit the hay (the girls were understandably exhausted from the day).
Our final morning, we made the girls chocolate chip pancakes and avocado toast. We then cleaned camp, took the girls to shower, and headed to a sweet little beach town for banquet. We enjoyed a final meal of organic, locally sourced salad and pizza and then got to shop around a bit. We surprised Ava and took her to the shaved ice shop she has been talking about this week – pure joy was her expression. The girls were happy and full before we took them to the airport.
Airport days are always tough. It symbolizes the end of something beautiful – and something beautiful certainly describes our all-girls week in the sun. The girls cried as they said their goodbyes. We are certain that some lifelong friendships were made here in Maui, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the time spent, memories made, and community built.
Until next time. Mahalo!
Hannah, Mallie, and Jackie
March 14, 2023
ALOHA! We have landed in Maui and boy, have we hit the ground RUNNING! We are over the moon with how incredible our group of gals are. There’s something extremely special about an all-girls group, and that has already proven itself to be true. Ela was the first to arrive and excitedly kept us company as we anxiously awaited the rest of the group’s arrival. We gave each girl a matching lei, picked up some pizza, and headed to our organic farm we will call camp for the next week. We enjoyed getting to know one another and sharing stories of what makes each of us who we are. Our gals went to bed with happy hearts, overjoyed and anticipating the next week’s activities and memories.
We had an early first morning with sea kayaking and snorkeling on the itinerary for the day. Caneel and Bo were our all-star Leader of the Days for the first official day of the trip, and they kept morale high even with pretty gnarly currents going against us! Despite the challenging conditions, the girls were incredible sports and persevered. That attitude proved to be fruitful because we saw THREE humpback whales! We were all in awe as we watched them jump out of the water multiple times, their tail fins following in tow. We then switched gears to snorkel-mode after we anchored near the coral reef. We got to see beautiful coral, brightly colored tropical fish, and sea turtles in their habitat! Sara was such a natural snorkeler – we saw her flip underwater countless times as she explored the underwater sanctuary.
After we finished up our morning activities, we stopped for lunch! The girls enjoyed fresh açaí bowls and fish tacos from local food trucks in a sweet, vibrant beach town right on the water. Maddy said the açaí was the best she has ever tasted! We then explored the shops around the town and the girls got to do some shopping. After that, we went to the beach and relaxed – cat naps were well deserved after all that morning’s paddling! Back at camp, Mallie led an awesome cook crew for our dinner: taco bowls! Mia quickly became a master in the kitchen and helped perfect all the dishes for the meal. After Moonup, (and Elizabeth making the group crack up once again with her jokes) the girls went to sleep, excited for the next day’s events.
The next day, the girls enjoyed a bit of a sleep-in morning as we switched our activity to surfing to maximize wave conditions! Jackie led the group in a morning yoga class after a stellar breakfast of egg, peppers, tomato scramble with avocado toast and fresh clementines. Ellie was a natural yogi – attempting poses that even Jackie had not mastered! We packed up camp and headed to the beach for our surfing lessons. After instruction from our awesome guides, we went to the water to try our hand at Hawaii’s favorite past time. Harper was absolutely incredible and even did some tricks on the board, switching her stance mid-wave. We got to see some more sea turtles even closer up – they were often swimming right under our surf boards. Ava and Ela (our leaders of the day) chose to treat the group with iconic Hawaiian shaved ice – so of course, we obliged. Lilly dared to be different and tried a flavor that had never been done before in the 25 years of the family-run shaved ice shack we visited – pineapple colada and cake batter! Nevertheless, she said it was amazing.
After that, we drove to the trailhead to an awesome day hike we had planned. The girls have mentioned many times how much they love the van rides in between activities – it’s such a wonderful time to chill, bond, laugh, and listen to music as we take in the incredible scenery of the Maui coastline. We hiked a mile to a hidden waterfall and some of the group chose to extemporaneously jump in the water, despite being in our hiking clothes. Live in the moment, am I right?
We finally made it back to camp after a long (but fun!) day in the sun. Cook crew (Elizabeth, Ellie, and Lilly) helped make an amazing dinner of crostinis, green beans, and honey-sriracha chicken on a bed of rice. We went over rules of the kitchen, best practices while cooking, and even how to use a camping stove. Parents, expect your girls to make you dinner upon their return! Tired and happy, the girls went to bed giggling in their tents.
It has been so awesome seeing the group gel over the past two days. We are thrilled to be these gals’ leaders and are so excited to see the lasting magic that Moondance will have on them. As for now, we are excited for tomorrow’s activity of waterfall rappelling – these girls cannot get enough of the water, the sunshine, and each other.
More fun to come! Stay tuned.
With love, (and a big SHAKA),
Jackie, Mallie and Hannah
March 7, 2023
Hello Maui Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Maui! 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 trip updates throughout the next week! This will allow you to follow along with the trip. You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to!