Madame Pele Changes Everything
October, 2014
Aloha Nui!
For some time now, there hasn't been much in the way of change to write about, so there haven't been a lot of updates.
Madame Pele seems to have changed all of that.
The lava flow threatening Pahoa Town is, as of this writing (10/3/2014), is now some 2.1 miles from town and advancing. A few days ago, it had stopped. Again. For a few days. Today, it is again moving, ever-so-slowly, toward Pahoa.
Meanwhile, some of the folks who live south of Pahoa Town are in a state of frenzy trying to decide what to do, or if they've decided to leave, packing everything they own off to a Hilo storage unit or maybe shipping it all off to the Mainland where one need not worry too much about volcanoes. Earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes, but not volcanoes.
And then there are those enviable folks right in Pele's path who are just chill, conducting business as if nothing unusual was happening, and taking the attitude that hey, we knew all about Madame Pele when we decided to live here, and we accepted that she will always have her way. That's just the way it is, and we shall survive.
It has come down to a waiting game, and the Informed Ones are telling us the wait is now some two weeks or less. Other Experts are saying that they are pau with predictions because as surely as the flow will eventually come to town, it could just as surely not. Madame Pele is often a fickle goddess.
So what does this all mean to the residents here, especially those south of Pahoa Town? And how does it affect folks who are considering relocating to this wonderful and never-without-adventure area? This could be either a great opportunity to buy bargain-priced real estate, or it could also be huge risk. Take your pick.
The County is working hard to avoid leaving 9000 folks stranded in Lower Puna, and as we speak there are three roads being developed to take the place of the threatened highway. Two of them, of course, will go away if the flow crosses the highway and proceeds down to the ocean. The third, Chain of Craters Road, will still work, although it has been restored after previous flows only to be covered again elsewhere. We're living on a Volcano! This third option also means over and hour to get to Hilo from Lower Puna.
Some people are putting their homes up for sale at bargain prices and they are getting snapped up by eager investors. If this sounds too good to be true, consider that the value of the possibly-stranded real estate is entirely dependent on this lava flow.
If you feel lucky, go shopping. Other folks are determined to stay put, and still others who don't have the need to commute to town every day are looking for the bargains they couldn't afford otherwise. They are the ones who are seeking a place to call home; they're not the speculators.
Since you're reading this Update, you're probably one of the folks who is yearning to live in Hawaii, you've read “Affordable Paradise” and are now questioning the wisdom of actually relocating to a place with an uncertain future. While no place on this planet has a certain future (think: California's massive earthquakes, Washington State's devastating Mt. St. Helens eruption, rising sea levels threatening many coastal areas, the entire West Coast's exponentially worse-every-year wildfires, all those hurricanes and tornadoes that in an instant can vaporize an entire town . . .), living right on the flanks of an active volcano might seem less than wise. The upside of this particular volcano is that it's one of those that moves slowly and gives lots of warning, unlike Mt. St. Helens, that just blew 700 feet off of the top of the mountain one lovely morning in May, 1980. Another upside is that real estate prices are aligned with the risk. This is a good thing for those who are adept at creating positive realities in their lives.
If you're still interested in this wonderful, exciting and ever-changing part of Paradise, study a good map of the entire area so you'll get a better picture of what it looks like, where everything is relative to Pahoa Town and the current lava flow, and where the roads are that will most likely be your link to the rest of the Island. If you have no need to be close to town, the areas south of Pahoa could be the answer for you. But if you decide to check it out there, please use all the aloha you can when you start a conversation with a seller or anyone else living in the area.
Especially right now, most folks there are on edge, wary of looters who seem to appear like vultures when anyone is forced to leave their belongings behind, and possilby weary of predatory investors trying to steal their homes. Be respectful when talking to anyone selling their home. Some of these folks have no alternative than to leave their homes where they've live for many year, maybe even brought up their families there. Nobody likes to feel like they're getting kicked when they're down. Put yourself in their slippahs and approach the conversation from a compassionate place.
However this lava flow event plays out, it will be just one more event of many that have already gone by. Puna people are, for the most part, survivors. Most are there because this is where they want to be. For sure, there are those who are there only because Lower Puna has some of the cheapest real estate to be found, but even some of those are there because that is where their hearts are. Not good to make judgments about anybody because of where or how they choose to live.
I'm checking in daily with the events here and will post new Updates as things move along. My thoughts go out to those for whom this is a troubling time.

Mahalo for listening, and if you have any questions or other thoughts you would like to share, please feel free to email me!

With abundant aloha always,

Skip & Camille
We wish you all the best, and never forget to
Please Live Aloha!
Mahalo for "listening."
Skip Thomsen & Ohana
Updated 10/4/2014