It is not something you read about in the tourist brochures but if you google Vog you will see there is a lot of info out there on it. (I don’t mean this to be a negative post – more of a informative one).
Here is a short description of Vog in Hawaii (from NASA): Kilauea Volcano, on the island of Hawaii, has been erupting continuously since 1983. This image, taken by the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis, shows volcanic plumes from Kilauea rising up from three locations: Halema‘uma‘u Crater, Pu‘u ‘O‘o Crater, and from along the coastline where lava flows from the East Rift zone were entering the ocean. The plumes have created a blanket of volcanic fog, called vog, that envelops the island. (Click on the satellite photo to read more).
So you would think Kailua Kona wouldn’t be to affected by vog since it is on the other side of the island. Unfortunately that is not the case – because of the trade winds we get quite a bit of vog. Now with the recent fissure the vog has been bad.
At first you don’t notice the vog so much but then a clear day happens and you truly realize how bad the vog can get here. I would say nice clear days are a rare thing in Kailua Kona. There are some days when the cruise ship is in that I can barely see it – it is probably only 4 miles away as the crow flies.
For my family the vog hasn’t really affected us physically. I don’t notice any affects with my 3 year old either. Sometimes my sinuses bother me but that is about it. I have heard that vog affects everyone differently. I guess the only way you will know if you will be affective by it is to come experience it.
The positive of this is that certain parts of the island aren’t as affective by the vog like we are in Kailua Kona. If you do a little research you can easily find out where the bad areas of vog tend to be. Although if we are having a bad vog day – it not only affects the big island but also the other islands.
Here is a great picture of Kona with and without Vog. Even though it was taken in 2008 – its still the same.
Here are some good links about vog: