Today was a very early start for the few of us that chose to have a morning surf. After that, we hopped on to the bus to the KoAloha ukulele factory, which a couple of the members remembered visiting on the trip five years ago. We got to see how ukuleles are made, and how strong they are by getting Rylan to stand on one of the ukuleles. Next, the family who owns the small factory played us a tune on their ukuleles, and we played them four in return. One of the family members got so emotional from our song that he almost cried! There where even more tears when the factory presented the group with three brand new ukuleles to give to members with broken or beat up ukuleles. After that, we went to check out Pearl Harbour and learned a lot about the history of the Harbour and even got to take a small boat to see Arizona memorial. Next we headed on over to our much anticipated final diner, which most of us dressed up for. For a couple days prior to the diner, the seniors and some of the intermediates where working very hard to fulfill a very special island ukuleles tradition. The tradition is to make up a reward for each member of the group and present them with a gift and a mini speech. It was a great last day we will be sad to leave behind. See you tomorrow Victoria!!
Today we woke up at 5:00 am to hike up Diamond Head State Monument (Le‘ahi). It was a long and tiring walk but when we got to the top the view was amazing. Although we were tired, the thought of eating some nice cold shaved ice enticed us to get down. Then, we proceeded to head to Sea Life Park. On the way we stopped at Makapu'u Lookout to take some groups photos with a beautiful ocean in the background. We decided to take a video of us playing and while we did we were constantly photo bombed by Japanese tourists. We then continued to Sea Life Park where we got to do everything from feeding and petting birds to touching stingrays to petting a shark. The dolphin show was incredible to see and some of us were fortunate enough to ride and kiss the Dolphins. After our amazing time at Sea Life Park, we headed back to our hotel to play a concert. Everyone from the hotel gathered around to watch. It was an amazing concert; everyone loved us and at the end of the concert Patricia's number one fan, sandy donated $250 towards the island ukuleles program. In return, our next ukulele project is to make a DVD. Wow! Another great day with friends fun and sun in Hawaii.
(Ethan and Patricia)
Today, a pretty small portion of the group went surfing and had one of the best days yet! Many of the others were too tired and took the time to sleep in a little bit. We had a quick breakfast and then went to the flea market at the Hawaii State Warriors Stadium. Lots of us bartered and bought stuff that we liked! After enjoying the flea market, we went back to our hotel for some lunch before heading out to the massive Ala Moana Center (shopping mall). We played on a really nice stage and had a nice sized crowd around for the whole show. Everybody said that we sounded awesome, including some of the local girls who thought we were pretty cool. When we were finished, we had time to enjoy ourselves while we went shopping! We celebrated Jacob's birthday by watching him devour his banana split sundae and sang to him and Tim (it was Tim's birthday, too!). When we came back to the hotel, we had a group circle time where we all got to share our favorite moments of the trip so far!
(Christopher and John)
Today, many of us went surfing again this morning but the surf wasn't quite as good as the day before. We went to see the amazing Bonzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach with massive breakers! (We saw a chicken In the parking lot and Caleb and Tim climbed an 18 foot tall tree!). We also visited a small town called Haleiwa & Waialua on the north side of the island of Oahu; it was really cool to see what small town Hawaii looks like. After stopping in Haleiwa, we continued along the north shore towards the Polynesian Cultural Centre. We participated in many traditional games and saw the exhibits from all around the Polynesian islands. We visited many of the different exhibits and got lots cool souvenirs such as coconut leaf headbands, baskets, and plates! All of us took in the canoe pageant that displayed all the different clothing styles and a few of the traditions of each culture. After experiencing the many cultures and traditions, we got to have an amazing buffet with awesome food and nice deserts! We performed an awesome concert at the Hukilau Market Place. Then we went to large scale production of "Ha: Breath of Life". It is a show that follows the life of Mana, who grows up learning the different cultures from all of the islands. There was great music and awesome fire dancers!
(Owen, Nate, & Sebastien)
Today, most of us went surfing! We caught some amazing waves and had lots of fun; some got big rashes from rubbing on the surf boards (especially Kyle, his whole stomach was red). Everyone did amazing! After, we all had breakfast and went to Pohai Nani Good Samaritan Retirement Community. We had an interesting concert. Everyone appreciated our love and talent of ukulele, which made it an amazing concert. After that concert, we packed up, met a few interesting new people and left for Enchanted Lake Elementary for our next concert. We set up and then had an amazing lunch organized by Aunty Lin and Uncle Mel and we sat and met some kids who were really excited to meet us. The best part of that concert was when we were playing Crazy G. Nicole, Ethan, and Tina were explaining to the students about when to yell (to make the song go faster). When Tina practiced turning around, they screamed like crazy! When they were 'supposed' to be quiet, they were still screaming like crazy.
After that, we went to the ocean. The view was so beautiful and the water was this cool shade of blue. Some of us built sand castles, others played football, and then went into the waves for some swimming! After the beach, we went to get shaved ice from Island Snow (President Obama's favourite shave ice store). It was so good! On the bottom, there was vanilla ice cream and then there was shaved ice with the syrup of our choice! We all enjoyed it so much. There were flavours like Snazberry and Godzilla Grape and a whole bunch of other silly names!
After we finished our delicious shaved ice's, we went to Fat Boy's Bistro for our final concert of the day (three in total!). We delivered the gear and had this free and really amazing dinner there! We played a great show for a really appreciative crowd that had actually paid $15 per person to be there! Our final song before the "Hana Ho" (encore) was Hawaii Aloha (regarded as the second national anthem for Hawaii). The crowd stood and held hands while singing to our rendition. It was truly an incredible feeling of warmth and "Ohana" (family). We listened to Uncle Mel's band to end the evening and had a nice ride back to our cozy little hotel in Waikiki!
(Kiera and Sujean)
Today was a pretty mellow, laid back day. Our easy morning turned into a fun filled day! We started off by going to the pool at the Sheraton which has an awesome water slide and great Jacuzzi! We packed our bags, said good bye to the hotel and boarded the bus. This bus wasn't just any bus, in fact it was a nice coach bus; we would have the honour of being its very last passengers before it gets shipped to Chicago. We joked about drawing and writing our names on the side of the bus with sharpie however, our driver Alana (the manager of the school bus division) thought that would not go over well with the company. We stopped into Kailua-Kona and saw where we would have stayed had we not been lucky to get the Waikoloa Marriott and Sheraton Keahou. We then went to the airport where the fine folks at Hawaiian Airlines allowed us to check our sound gear and big luggage for free! We stopped to have a bit of circle time at the airport gate which allowed us to share our favorite trip moments and concert moments so far. After the short and scenic flight from Kona to Honolulu, we got to have a fun shopping experience at COSTCO. We had to shop for our own breakfast and lunch foods for the week as rooms! We arrived shortly thereafter at our cozy pink hotel, the Royal Grove. This hotel definitely isn't like the past hotels we were at; lets just say at had few more years on it compared to the Sheraton or the Marriott. After settling into the new hotel, we mostly just played around the pool area. After dinner we got to go to the beach and check out a flea market. Well, off to bed as we have three concerts tomorrow!
(Kyle, Jacob, and Mr. Martin ;) )
Today was yet another crazy busy day. After a filling breakfast, we had a short hour to organize a few things and be ready to leave for concert #5 of our tour. This one took place at the Waikoloa Elementary And Middle School. Our audience was a bit more excitable and rowdy than previous ones, but they did settle down when they needed to. We performed two pieces with a few of the students from the school, which was fun to do. We even got to have lunch with the students. After a quick pack-up, we headed to the beach for some epic body surfing. We all had a whale of a time but ended up with salty...well salty everything. But the water was such a variety of different shades of blue, it was completely worth it. On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Costco for a huge pizza dinner, with lots of leftovers. The very second we got back to the hotel, we were rushing again. We had about 20 minutes to unpack the bus, change into uniforms, and set up for a quick concert in the hotel restaurant. After that, we were all absolutely exhausted. I'm not even sure how some of us had the energy to go for a late evening swim, but we did. Thank goodness we get to sleep in tomorrow before flying to Oahu!
(Azure, Maddy, and Nicole)
Yesterday we had a concert kealakehe school. As we were warming up, all the kids were so enthusiastic and cheered even before our concert. At the beginning of each song, the crowd erupted. We played great and got to share with the sixth, seventh and eighth graders, who were all so energetic and stared in awe at our ukuleles. After sharing a couple of songs, we said our goodbyes and headed to the hotel. We dropped our gear off and headed to the catamaran. On our way to captain cook bay, we spotted some spinner Dolphins and a humpback whale. We saw many beautiful fish, including the state fish, humunukunukuapua'a. The beautiful coral in different shapes and colours were amazing to see, and close enough to touch in some places. We were lucky enough to see a sea turtle and many other exotic animals. On the way back to the harbour, there were huge waves which excited most of us. A few people were up on the front nets, getting soaked, while Kiera laid in the nets, having a sea water shower with every roaring wave. It was a great way to end the busy day of our first school concert.
(Jasmine and Alysha)
Due to a mix up with the catamarans, we had to change which tour we took because there was not enough space on the boat. Four of us; Nicola, Rylan, Caleb and Matthew got to do night snorkeling with manta rays. Which was incredible! On the way to the bay, we practiced surfing on the nets as a gorgeous sunset lit the sky in vibrant colours! The Rays were massive, they came within two inches of us, while spiraling up and down in the lights trying to catch plankton. The first time the Rays came towards us it was literally breathe taking as water filled our snorkels but we were too distracted watching the Rays glide across our stomachs. Gasping in amazement we inhaled some delicious salty water.
(Nicola and Rylan)
The day started early and ended late. It was our first truly busy day. It started with a mix up with our bus driver, he called in sick 15 minutes before we needed him. This caused us to end up with an awesome bus driver/tour guide Terry, who stayed with us for the entire day driving us in a full circle along the cost around the Big Island. Our first stop, besides the waterfalls that we slowed down to look at, was Umauma zip lining. While waiting for our zip line tour to start we cracked open coconut, bread fruit and vanilla beans, all of which tasted delicious and hiked up to a lookout over the falls and to a cinnamon tree. Zip lining was absolutely amazing. We went on four zip lines where we soared across the sky at high speeds reaching up to 80 mph. The scenery was beautiful, with many unique looking trees and breath taking waterfalls. Some of us thrill seekers went upside down and did flips while going down the zip line. The guides were very encouraging and helped all of us have tons of fun while being safe. It was a once in a lifetime experience for us. After that we all packed back on the bus and drove to the Hawaii volcano national park where we started off by watching a video about the creation of Hawaii and the wildlife here. We then drove up to Jagger's Point which had a little museum and a nice view of the crater. Our next stop was the underground lava tubes. We walked for 4-5 minutes and then we stopped and sung the river. Other people going through the tube stopped to watch a few minutes before continuing through the crazy lava tubes. At that point it was rainy out and we had the option to either stay at the volcano till dark to see the lava or go down to the black sand beach. We chose the black sand beach which was probably for the best. Half an hour after we got there it stopped raining and got a bit nicer out. Then we headed to the famous black sand beach, it was about an hour drive from where we left the volcano. The beach was like nothing I have ever seen, the sand had a different feel to it... It was like nothing I have ever felt, it was truly an amazing thing. At first none of us wanted to go swimming, but with a little convincing Scotty and Caleb managed to get everyone in the water. The water was your typical Hawaiian water; nice and warm. We managed to find a turtle and circle it and get some amazing photos of it. Chris unfortunately got stung by something, we are not sure on what actually sung him. His whole foot and leg swelled up, we had to take him to the hospital on the way back to the hotel. When we got back to the hotel we had just enough time to go for a quick swim before bed and finish packing for our next hotel.
Sr. Boys signing off.
We started our day with a wonderful workshop with the famous Roy Sakuma, who we met by chance at our hotel the day before. He mentioned us in his workshop to the crowd. Next, we got into our uniforms and got ready to perform at the great Waikoloa Ukulele Festival. They treated us to a free lunch of loaded sandwiches and drinks instead of a $100 honorarium. Much more valuable! We caught the tail end of Kris Fuchigami who was incredible! It was awesome to be able to perform on the same stage as ukulele legends! We broke the record for the smallest stage we have ever preformed on in the Queens Marketplace. It literally only fit four small chairs across the stage. After the concert we enjoyed an impromptu workshop with Kris out on the grass by the market. In our free time we went shopping in the Queens shops and listened to ukulele legends. After that we had the opportunity to listen to and learn from the "crazy ukulele girl" or "hot ukulele girl" to the boys. She was a fun, spunky, young, half-Samoan girl that played upbeat flamenco songs. We even learned a lesson in performing skills from her. At nighttime, the seniors enjoyed learning to squirt water across the hot tub from some local Hawaiian boys!
Aloha from the senior girls