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Day Seven: Hawaiʻi

Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Dave!To Big Island, or not to Big Island?

Back in March, a new fissure opened on the Kilauea volcano which has resulted in a tenfold release of sulphur gasses into the atmosphere. Known as "vog" (for "Volcanic Fog"), these emissions can completely obliterate the sky here on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi depending on which way the wind blows. And it's not just Hawaiʻi, but all the islands that are affected. There were a few afternoons on Maui where Mt. Haleakala was invisible because vog had blown in and hidden the entire mountain. This is a big problem, because people expect blue skies and visible sunsets when they visit the islands. If the situation gets much worse, not only will the tourist trade suffer... but crops which require sunlight to grow could start having problems too.

Keeping all of this in mind, I faced a bit of a dilemma when booking my Hawaiian vacation. Do I dare risk spending time on Hawaiʻi when the trip might very well be marred by a volcanic haze blanketing the island?

You bet your ass I do.

If vog happens, it happens. Hawaiʻi is a wonderful island to experience and if I spent all my time worrying about what may or may not occur, I might as well stay home.

And if I had decided to skip The Big Island of Hawaiʻi, I would not have had this sight awaiting me once I got to my hotel today...

Hapuna Beach

After kicking around the beach for a while (and getting a bit red because I forgot to apply sunblock), I headed to the northern tip of the island to the city of Kapaʻau. It's here where you can find the very first King Kamehameha statue. I'm thinking it was put here because he was born nearby...

King Kamehameha Statue

If you keep driving past Kapaʻau, you'll eventually run out of road. It all ends at the Pololu Valley lookout, where you have to turn around and go back...

Pololu Lookout

Which I did, driving back on the upcountry roads of Highway 250. This actually ended up being quite cool, because you could look down on the Kailua-Kona area, where it happened to be raining...

Up-Country Rains

This is one of my favorite shots I've taken so far. It's almost like a painting or something. Hey... it may be raining, but it's still Hawaiʻi!

Deciding that Kailua-Kona might be a good place for dinner, I headed on down. By the time I got there, the rain was in full-force, but it was a nice warm rain and felt great. I wandered around for a bit snapping photos, like this one of Hawaiʻi's first church...

Hawaii's First Church

They are doing lots of construction in the area, so traffic is a frackin' mess, but I did get to see a nice sunset on the way back to my hotel. Unfortunately, by the time I found a place to pull over and shoot it, the sun was already plummeting past the horizon. The colors were so vivid (probably thanks to the vog!) that they blew out in my camera's sensor...

Big Island Sunset from the Road

By the time I got back "home," the stars were already coming out...

Sunset at the Hotel

I have no idea what I'm doing tomorrow, but I can't wait to find out! Vog willing, big adventures await...

Categories: Photography 2008, Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. Avitable says:

    Too bad you can’t do a video post while you’re there . . .

  2. my aunt used to live on the big island, in the kailua kona area, and it was the first place in hawaii that i ever visited. fell in love. did the booze cruise and afterward decided to try to swim the portion of the iron man. made it not very far at all. hehe

    ANYhow, your photos are stunning. all of mine are of people, mostly me, and very few are of the scenery. i suck at photo taking. thanks for sharing these. they bring back terrific memories of walking to lava flows, being inside pitch black lava tubes, walking in a rain forest then a dessert, then the tropical area. the big island has so much to offer! thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  3. John says:

    Gorgeous photos Dave. : )

  4. diane says:

    Ah ha! I wondered what vog was when I saw it on Twitter…I thought maybe it was a typo.
    Beautiful, as ever. Damn your influence Dave–my checking account curses you! :p

  5. I was wondering about that from twitter too…
    Those photos are absolutely phenomenal!

  6. Whitenoise says:

    Beautiful. Drink it in, dude. Bottle that scenery up inside for the next time things go kerflooie at work.

  7. ChillyWilly says:

    Wow. So awesome. And that’s my praise to you for sharing with those of us that are not in Hawaii.

    So any blogger meetups there?

    And I second Avitable’s request for a video post.

  8. SJ says:

    Ahh, these are dreamy! The beach one is quintessential tropical vacation, but I think the Kailua-Kona one is even more stunning.

    Again, thank you for “taking us with you”!

  9. Nykol says:

    I am living on the Big Island 18 years now. I love your photos and it reminds me why I haven’t been to the mainland since I arrived here. The vog situation does bring up concern for me but it is just so beautiful here. I went to Maui recently, wish I could be two people and live both islands.

  10. claire says:

    More great shots, Dave! I particularly like your rain shot. One of my faves of mine is also the long view (in Utah) where you can see it raining in the distance- very cool effect imo. Where I live, you can’t see very far because of the hills and mountains, so views like that always appeal to me.

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