Goodbye Kapoho Bay.


Active Member
This is one spot that I'll never fish again since it no longer exists. The entire bay is now filled with lava which is still advancing into the ocean. At this rate Kapoho Bay may become Cape Kapoho.

Watching or reading about distant natural disasters on TV or other media just isn't the same unless you've been there and know people affected. Last July we rented a beautiful home on the south shore of Kapoho Bay. We had four very memorable days and were planning on going back. And yeah, I know you take your chances building a home on an active volcano but this still sucks for a lot of folks. Hard to believe the spot I was fishing is now under the "laze" plume on the left side of this USGS image taken yesterday.

Only two days before:

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Active Member
Are the tide pools filled?
We rented a tiny house on the edge of the tide pools a few years ago
Awesome place
Snorkeling right out the front door
The earth is alive!


Active Member

I also stayed around there and snorkeled and fished in that bay a couple of times. One place we rented had been just missed by the lava flow in the 1960’s, but it’s just on the opposite side of the bay from the new flow, and looks like it might not be so lucky this time!

The tide pool area has not been hit yet, but the water quality there must be taking a massive hit.



Active Member
This area was filled with incredibly beautiful homes that were, literally, dream homes representing a life time of hard work for many. And not all wealthy main landers. I talked at length one day with a resident Hawaiian neighbor who came down to fish for ulua with a surf rod that was at least 12' long. Super-nice guy. We ended up chatting for almost an hour looking at the water with neither of us wetting a line. Besides sharing a ton of Hawaiian fishing knowledge, he knew the original owner-builder and filled me in on what a great neighborhood it was. Good thing we didn't have an extra mil or two laying around (ha) otherwise we'd have visited a local real estate office.

This particular house was incredible inside and out. Our stay there was my wife's idea as a getaway after week with the whole family on Kauai (OK honey, if you insist ;) ). Originally it was just going to be the two of us at the Kapoho house, but we knew her sister and husband desperately needed a getaway from kids, work, and daily life in general. Without going into details, those 4 days were a turning point for them, so this is especially sad for them. This was a memory we wanted them to hold onto so I took a couple days to do a painting (basically copied a photo) of the house as a Christmas gift. Really glad I did it now.



Active Member
So sad. I have many friends and family in Puna. I lived there for 10 years. So many places, homes and business's gone. Green lake, completely vaporized and filled with lava. Now Kapoho... I've spent untold hours snorkeling there, watching the kids ride the incoming tide on their boogie boards. At least Millionaires is still untouched.

Aloha nui loa.


the Menehune stole my beer
it's totally gut wrenching to see the devastation. The tide pools are filling with lava this morning and the lava delta (that used to be Kapoho Bay) now extends more than 700 yards from shore. All that beauty is gone forever.

This a'a flow is not like a garden hose, it is like a giant, 600-yard-wide bulldozer blade that crushes, buries and burns anything in its path.

Our air in Kona sucks right now. we blew a 154 on Tuesday and a 153 yesterday. That's in the Unhealthy zone for everyone. Tutu Pele isn't done yet...
We stayed in a 2 story octagonal house overlooking the bay and swam in the Champagne Ponds and snorkeled the bay for a week in 2011. We ended up
moving to the island for several years. We pray for the people of the island that
they survive the economic impact that this event is bringing to their lives.


Active Member
Wow, lots of heavy losses but the earth does what it does. There's a reason people choose to build where they do, sometimes...eventually, things get ugly. The earth is not always friendly and sometimes seems incredibly mean. Hoping the best for everyone personally involved. Beautiful painting @SilverFly!


Well-Known Member
Here on the mainland, if you build a house in a river floodplain, you have to buy flood insurance. It seems like in the vulnerable zones in Hawaii that the banks would require volcano insurance in order to finance a home loan. Maybe not, but if not, why not?


Active Member
Here on the mainland, if you build a house in a river floodplain, you have to buy flood insurance. It seems like in the vulnerable zones in Hawaii that the banks would require volcano insurance in order to finance a home loan. Maybe not, but if not, why not?
If you finance, you need insurance. It is available (or was - availability can change according to the perceived risk) with limitations for even the most "at risk" lava zones (1 & 2) on the big island.

Land in those zones is relatively cheap, for a reason. People can buy land for cash and build "off grid". So no insurance required. No quarter asked, no quarter given.

There are (were) a lot of orchid farms, papaya farms, etc. Important economic drivers on the Big Island. I don't imagine those guys are insured for lava.

The homes in Kapoho... a mix of new owners and families that have lived there for generations. I have no idea what they are facing, beyond the complete and utter destruction of their homes in that once idyllic place.

This is not like a fire, or an earthquake, with damage that is relatively easy to recover from. Infrastructure is gone, buried under lava. Farms, businesses, roads, utilities, forests, jobs, homes, everything. Completely gone.

A home that was once nestled in a shady forest of Banyan, Eucapyptus and Mango might be rebuilt - on a blazing barren plain of aa (pronounced ah - ah*) lava. Once the roads and utilities were rebuilt. But why?

Geography completely altered. Homes, businesses & infrastructure destroyed. Much of this is way beyond insurance.

*I always thought aa lava was so appropriately named. It is broken and loose and very sharp. You will say "ah... ah..." if you try to walk on it with bare feet. Because it hurts.
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Active Member
The southern part of the tide pools still survives, for now, everything else is in the Kapoho area is obliterated. What amazes me is how far offshore the flow has progressed and remained at the surface. Pretty sure the bottom drops off very quickly there. Also no way I'd take a boat anywhere near that! Besides the danger of a shelf collapse, steam explosions, etc.., it can't be good for the boat to run a hot, acidic slurry of pulverized glass through the motors.

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Sculpin Enterprises
Wow, what a dramatic transformation of the landscape. Clear evidence that the dynamism that built the Hawaiian Islands is still quite active (see In fact, the next Hawaiian island, Loihi Seamount (seeōʻihi_Seamount) is already formed and should reach the surface within the next 100,000 years.

I would assume that the landowners whose homes were lost retain title to the land now covered by the lava flows. If you had shorefront property, has your property expanded if the lava extended the land into the sea?

On the time scale of a phase of human life (e.g., a retirement abode), the eruption is disaster, but on a geological scale, it is just a eye-blink. The Big Island is less than a million years old and created by the same continuing process that we see now. How long does it take for the area inundated with lava to support vegetation? Some insights can be found in this study of recovery after an eruption in Kilauea Iki in 1959 (see I assume that corals, algae, and marine invertebrates and vertebrates will begin to recolonize the submerged lava as soon as it cools enough to support life.

I just flew back from the big island the other day. I spent 1 week in Kona and rarely saw the sun. Not exactly what I was thinking on my first trip to Hawaii. VOG was intense. Unbelievable how much damage it has caused.

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