Spotting Kahoʻolawe

Twice in two weeks I have now seen Kahoʻolawe, this also marks the second occasion I have seen the island in almost a year. You might think me a little crazy, but I swear, I really have seen it! Look, I have a photo!

Kahoʻolawe from Waikoloa Road
The island of Kahoʻolawe as seen from Waikoloa Road
Seeing this island should be a regular occurrence… It is right on the horizon as seen from Waikoloa, right in front of you as you drive down Waikoloa Road. Even if barely visible I would recognize it, I know right where to look and would recognize the distinctive profile.

You can blame our local active volcano for the rarity of sightings. The volcanic smog, or vog, rarely permits the clear conditions necessary, much less from lower elevations. We do routinely see the top of Haleakalā on Maui, at about the same distance. That volcano towers above the low elevation, hazy air.

Recent Kona storms have swept the vog east or south, away from our area allowing much of Maui and Kahoʻolawe to be seen. There was even something visible just past west Maui that I am pretty sure was a bit of Molokai.

I have come to regard my rare sightings of Kahoʻolawe as a bit like encountering the mystical Brigadoon. If you dare venture to that place you will be swept off into the voggy mists, never to return to the mortal realm. Best leave it on the horizon.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i.

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