Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Excursion Program - Hanauma Bay

The first day of our Winter Excursion Program was a series of fortunate events! We rented enough snorkel gear for 34 youth the day before, knowing that the weather forecast was not promising...but we decided to take the risk and hope for the best. Around 9:00am it started pouring and we even heard some thunder! But as quickly as the rain came in, it moved on and the dark clouds parted to...lighter clouds! :) We headed out to Hanauma Bay, where we had a chance to look around the exhibits in the welcome center and then we got a special presentation from the education team there. We had a private screening of the movie that they play for guests that visit the bay, and learned some detailed information about the different types of fish in the bay. We also learned a little bit about conservation and we were shocked to learn that soup cans take about 50 years to decompose and diapers take about 450 years!

Skyler, AJ and Brandon learning about all the fishes in Hanauma Bay!

After the educational session we headed down the huge hill to the bay. Youth took turns using two new waterproof video cameras to capture footage of the fish and their friends having fun. One of the cameras can be mounted onto a head-strap, so youth had the change to take "point of view" footage. At one point, the headgear & camera went missing in the ocean...reports were that a bird took it and dropped it, or two turtles were playing with it, or even that a shark stole it! Fortunately, the youth worked together to find the camera not far from where the group was snorkeling. We can't wait to see the footage that they captured. Everyone was excited about all of the creatures they saw--huge parrotfish, eels and even an octopus!

Huli and Kelsey were expert snorkelers!

When the youth wanted to take a break from snorkeling, they had a great time splashing around in the water, burying each other in the sand, and competing in handstand contests. I'm thrilled to see that everyone was making new friends right away and having a fun time together. I know that the rest of the week will only get better!

Ja'don, Lindsey and Sara were showing off their handstand skills!

To check out more photos from the excursion program, click here!