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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

One Last Aloha – Hawaii Community Service

One Last Aloha - Hawaii Community Service

Aloha from Maui!
On Saturday we said goodbye to Honolulu and we have now begun the second leg of our trip in Maui.  It is so incredibly beautiful that none of us can wait to explore the island and find the breathtaking beaches that we’ve heard so much about. We are staying at the Maui Seaside Hotel, the last remaining hotel in the world owned exclusively by a Hawaiian family.  The hotel is right on the ocean and situated smack dab in the middle of Maui’s two dormant volcanoes. 
We got off to a quick start with Nature Jay from Eco Maui. He shared a lot of environmental information with us, and led us through cleaning both a local park and a beach. We also were able to hike through a local bamboo forest beneath a hidden waterfall.  Most were apprehensive at first, but once Peter went in to the water, all followed shortly thereafter.
The beaches and beauty would have to wait as our first assignment started right away at the Boys & Girls Club of Lahaina.  Although much different than the Boys & Girls Club in Oahu, our members found more ways than one to be of use.  Adam and Dylan took a quick liking to the bumper pool table.  Kids joined them in a heated game before moving on to foosball.  Matthew challenged a local teen to a game of ping-pong while Anastasia, Katie, and Sophie helped out in the arts & crafts center.  Annabel mastered her dance moves to the delight of many of the girls and Eric took advantage of the Xbox Kinect and played a variety of virtual games to the delight of many kids.   Our time and the Boys and Girls club was split between the game room, and daily field trips.  The first was spent at a local swim club as well as walking around the town of Lahaina.  Evan was a major help spending over an hour in the pool teaching a boy how to swim. The second was spent on the world famous Kaapalani beach.  The third and last was spent playing Frisbee golf and preparing a delicious bbq on the beach.  Evan again was our aquatic hero boogie boarding almost all afternoon. Our time was fulfilling and rewarding for all.  We made new friends, but after three days it was time to move on.
What better way to get into the Hawaiian swing of things than to go to an authentic Luau at the Hyatt Regency.  We were all dazed by the music, stories, and fire throwing finale.  Oh yeah, the Hawaiian buffet didn’t hurt either!
Hanging out at the beach is exactly what our group needed to feel the Hawaiian vibe.  Our trip was finally able to check out just how sunny Maui can be.  During our beach excursions we visited three different local beaches and spent the day laying out, playing land sports, and just chatting in the Hawaiian sun.  On day 20 we embarked on a snorkel cruise to the islands of Molokini and Lanai. Julia and Eric saw some amazing coral and fish.  Annabel enjoyed laying out on the bow of the boat and taking in the beautiful views!
Days 21 & 22 were filled with adventure.  First, we climbed up Haleakela to Maui’s highest peak. On the way down we stopped at Sky Line Eco Adventures to zip line down five courses.  Flying from one tree to another was a once in a lifetime experience.  Eric brought his video camera to record the memorable moment.  We ended the wonderful afternoon by driving up to the top of the crater and all took pictures together above the clouds. 
Waking up the next morning, we kept the energy high as we met up with Sean and Joy for some good old fashion sea kayaking.  Nobody could have expected what we came upon next – our trip staff Jennifer got to pet a sea turtle.  All in all, we saw over fifteen sea turtles swim on by right in front of our faces.  Julia spotted two herself.  We also got to hold a sea urchin and see a variety of tropical fish.  All in all, it was an incredible way to start the day.  After a brief beach stop, we made our way back to the hotel to enjoy a hula dancing lesson.  Our instructor taught us several moves that we were able to practice and then later perform.  Dylan was really shaking his hips and loved his new dance moves.
Many of our members have expressed how disappointed they are that our trip is coming to an end.  It truly has been a wonderful summer.  Memories were made, and friendships were started.  Thank you for reading along and for one last time, aloha.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

The Westcoast Blogger