This Could Actually Be One Of The Best Times To Visit The Big Island
Having just returned to the Big Island from Los Angeles last week, I want to share that the national and international media coverage does not accurately portray what is happening at the vast majority of locations on the Big Island and in the state of Hawai‘i.
I live in Waimea (Kamuela) and work out of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Kohala Coast of Hawai‘i Island, which is approximately 100 miles northwest of where the volcanic eruption of Kīlauea is taking place. For the most part, when people call and ask how the current eruption is impacting people in the South Kohala and North Kohala areas, I respond by saying, “What eruption?”
In other words, on most days there is absolutely no noticeable difference today from the days and weeks prior to the most recent volcanic outbreak. That being said, there have been a few days when the winds have changed direction, coming out of the southwest versus the normal prevailing northeast trade winds. On those days, there has been an increase in VOG (volcanic smog or fog), but so far, it hasn’t lasted more than a day or two.
It is important to remember that Kīlauea volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for almost 35 years now, although the current outbreak is a lot more dramatic since the fissures and lava is now flowing further downslope in rural residential areas. Our hearts go out to the thousands of people impacted by this event and people on the Big Island and throughout the state are joining together to provide donations and financial support to the people who have been displaced and may not have a home to return to.
It is important for everyone to keep this unfortunate situation in perspective as the majority of the Big Island is safe and unaffected. An overreaction to what is being portrayed in the media could create a more devastating impact on the Big Island economy if tourists and people who own vacation homes stop coming. The airlines, hotels and other businesses dependent upon tourism are offering some fantastic deals right now. This could actually be one of the best times to visit the Big Island.