MAUNA LOA, Hawaii (KHON2) — From one end of the Big Island to the other, small bed and breakfasts have seen an uptick in calls inquiring about the eruption on Mauna Loa.
Tabitha Puniwai, who works for a bed and breakfast in Volcano Village on the East side of Hawaii Island, said they got a lot of phone calls Monday, Nov. 28.
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“Mostly people concerned about safety and wanting to know the proximity from the active volcano from where we are now,” explained Puniwai. “But no cancellations. We did have some new reservations come in. And a lot of people are excited to come up this way and try and check things out.”
Puniwai lives and works in an area officials said is unlikely to be impacted by the eruption.
So far, she said, it has been uneventful, other than a very faint pink glow in the sky.
“We didn’t get any ash. I still haven’t seen any Pele’s hair,” she said. “I know when the 2018 eruption happened. We had it all over the place but nothing up here.”
On the opposite side of the island in Hualalai. The experience has been a little different, according to Ricky Brewster, owner of Hale Hualalai Bed & Breakfast.
“It was very eerie,” Brewster said. “Very impressive. We had chicken skin. I mean, it was, it was intense.”
He said they got up at 4:45 a.m. on Monday to a bunch of concerned phone calls and messages and a bright orange glow in the sky.
Brewster said he was relieved once they realized the eruption wasn’t a threat, but he still has concerns.
“We run a farm operation as well. And, we distribute eggs through some of the grocery stores around the island. And so, it could impact that.”
Ilihia Gionson, HTA Public Affairs Officer asked visitors to be mindful if they plan to travel to Hawaii island.
“For folks coming here on vacation, it’s a very different experience than residents, many of whom are under a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety,” Gionson explained.
Ikaika Marzo, Puna resident and community advocate who remembers the 2018 Kilauea eruption, said visitors should give residents space.
“Give them respect,” Marzo said. “Because we have gone through that in the 2018 eruption, with visitors coming in; and it made it difficult for people to evacuate.”
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Marzo said anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the lava on Mauna Loa should view it from a distance and stay out of the small residential areas to prevent unnecessary traffic in the event of an emergency.