Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

What is vog and why is it so hazy on Maui?

vog at Kamaole I beach park
Vog as seen at Kamaole I beach park – where’s Lana’i?

What is vog? If you are on Maui right now, you know it is really hazy. In fact, it’s been quite hazy for a while now. It is so hazy, we can barely see Kaho’olawe from Kihei. The island of Lana’i is missing entirely (well, visually).

What is this haze? The haze is caused by volcanic smog (‘vog’). Wait a minute? Is there volcanic activity? Is Haleakala active?

vog at Kamaole I beach park
Looking over to the West Maui Mountains from Kamaole I beach park – pretty hazy

No need to panic! Haleakala  has been dormant for either 200+ or possibly 600 years. (Explorer La Perousse’s 1786 map of Maui didn’t show the La Perousse lava flow – he either forgot it or today’s carbon dating techniques are inaccurate, as those show the lava flow being from the 1400s).

However, there is volcanic activity at Kilauea on the Big Island. In fact, Kilauea has been continuously rumbling since 1983 – sometimes visibly, sometimes just ‘thinking about it’. Generally Hawaii’s favorite trade winds blow the vog West from Big Island. Every now and then the trade winds disappear and the vog comes to us.

vog at Kamaole I beach park to Molokini
Looking over to Molokini with Kaho’olawe barely visible in the background.

No, it won’t smell smokey, but if you have breathing problems, you may want to stay indoors until the air clears.

Here is a short video of ‘missing Lana’i’ from Kamaole I beach park, taken today.