Five Good Things You Didn’t Realize About VOG

The Makings Of VOG

With the continuing eruption in Puna, and the extra volcanic fog we are getting when the trade winds are not blowing, I thought it may be a good time to try and find the good in the endless stream of bad news coming from East Hawaii. (If you would like to help the displaced residents of Leilani Estates, please consider giving to Puu honua o’ Puna as they have created a hub where donations can be dropped off and distributed where it is needed most in the community.) They are dealing with direct sulfuric acid in the air due to the proximity to the flowing lava.

For those of us in West Hawaii, North Kohala, the Hamakua Coast and Hilo, we are not affected by the lava and falling ash, so life continues on and we still welcome visitors to the island.

I am working with local business owners to help mitigate the spread of false information about the lava eruption which has now impacted the whole island economically. (No, the island is not going to tip over and we are not going to evacuate all 175,000 of us on the island.

Folks who love Hawaii Island, we hope you will help us tell the world that our island is safe to come to visit and enjoy.

So, here are 5 good things about the VOG:

  1. It gets so hot during the middle of the day near the ocean with that bright sun beating down, that a little veil over the sun helps us all remain a bit more comfortable as we work on our tans, enjoy the ocean or are out boating and biking.
  2. No one ever appreciates a blue sky more than when those trades are blowing after a day or two of VOG has obscured the horizon line. Funny how you can’t appreciate something fully until it’s not a given every day. I love blue. (But I love the oranges and purples showing up now in the sunsets, too!)

    Purple sunsets are a creative byproduct due to the VOG!

  3. VOG is not rain, nor sleet, nor snow. You can still go out and enjoy your day. Voggy days still see the coffee tours being presented, the snorkel areas are still open to see our tropical fish, the fishing charters still go out, the luau’s still go on featuring great dancing and poi, and yes, even helicopter tours and lava boat tours still take tourists to see nature at its most fiery on the East Rift Zone. You can take some great black and white photos, too!
  4. VOG sometimes acts like a rainy day where you invite your friends to a movie, do errands, read a book, call your friends, or work on projects. If you are visiting here, VOG makes you look at the real time VOG tracking map that tells you where it is most likely to appear, so you can make alternative plans for your day. You have the freedom to hike Pololu’u Valley instead of hiking Green Sands Beach or sitting on Hapuna Beach with its long white sand vs Punaluu Black Sand Beach. You just need to be more flexible with your day.
  5. If you hate crowded beaches and popular restaurants, VOG may be the thing to deter tourists from doing all the things those of us who live here love to do, but avoid during the winter holidays and spring break! Hey, even the highway is less congested and we can move easily in traffic.


When you visit or if you live here, all of these natural occurances, from VOG to lava flows to ash eruptions are part of life here.  Kilauea has been active since 1983 and VOG is nothing new to our island.  Pele is in full operation right now and for those that are visiting now and plan on coming soon, you are some of the few in the world who get to experience the creation of new earth, The energy here is why people feel drawn to stay and to return. Of course, we love clean air and blue skies as much as they next person, but we know that the price we pay is life on this vibrant island.

Here are few ways you can lessen health effects of VOG courtesy of KonaWeb:

  • Drink lots of fluids to loosen mucus and clear lungs. Hot tea may be especially good. (Caffeinated teas also contain theophyliine – a bronchial dilator, further, both of these materials also help the clearance of the lungs).
  • Stay near ocean level. VOG levels are less in lower elevations than they are in higher elevations until you go past 6.000 feet. (Go up to the Visitors Center on Mauna Kea)
  • Don’t overexert yourself when vog levels are high. Even better, take it easy.
  • If practical, avoid high vog areas during times of thick vog.
  • Don’t smoke, and avoid people smoking or burning trash, especially during vog episodes.
  • When vog is strong, avoid contact with people with colds and flu, and avoid molds, mildew, pollen, and dust. (Some of the lung clearance and immune functions could be compromised by high vog.)
  • For very high vog, stay indoors, close the windows, and run an air purifier or air conditioner. Indoor plants (especially spider plants) may help clean the air. You also can try hanging up sheets that have been soaked In a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda to one liter of water (which can help trap acid aerosols and gases.)
  • Keep any respiratory and heart medications you use handy. Consult your doctor.
  • Respirators or wet handkerchiefs may help if vog levels are very high, but may hurt individuals with pre-existing respiratory or heart ailments, due to increased breathing resistance and, therefore, increased stress. Consult your doctor about your state of health, and consult an industrial hygienist about respirators.

If you have more questions or have concerns about visiting, please check the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Special Alert section  for up to date information about travel to Hawaii Island.

I try my best to answer questions on my Facebook page at 365 Things to Do in Kona, so go ahead and ask a question the comment section.

I invite to you explore my website further, as I recently updated it so you can find archived information about Things to Do and restaurants to enjoy and events to attend. Aloha!

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • Gretchen says:

    Hi Julie, love your website! Question about vog… if Madame Pele is quiet, like she is now, does that mean there’s no vog? We were on the BI at the end of last Feburary, and we saw very little sun for 10 days! We’re planning another trip this February and I’d love to have at least a chance at some blue skies and hot sun! Mahalo.

    • Julie Ziemelis says:

      Gretchen: There really is no VOG! It is so gorgeous! February was rainy last year..that is not normal, so hope you get a better February experience this year! At least it will be clean air!

  • Betty Branham says:

    My eyes don’t like got,at all.

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