No Tourists! The Covid-19 pandemic has effectively ended mass tourism to the big island of Hawaii.
The Hawaiian island chain was created by a singular volcano in the dead center of the Pacific Ocean. Over the great eons of time, the tectonic plates of the pacific shifted, and allowed the lone volcano Kilauea to create a series of beautiful tropical islands; the Islands of Hawaii, the crown jewels of planet earth. But in the past half century, extreme greed, an acceleration of tourism, migrations, and invasive species have pushed the limits of the Hawaiian island chain to the breaking point.
For the purposes of our story, we are focusing in on two islands in this beautiful chain: Oahu and The Big Island, Hawaii.
The most populated Island, Oahu, in the center of the island chain, boasts all the modern designs western society has to offer. It is home to 1 million people, iconic scenery, and the seven-mile miracle; a stretch of beach with world famous waves. People from all over the world have been making their way to the beaches of Oahu for decades. For the most part, Hawaii’s tourist industry is centralized on Oahu.
By contrast, the more rural, less populated, Big Island Hawaii, has experienced an extreme downturn in tourism in 2020. Located the farthest south in the island chain, the largest land mass, West Hawaii was once the seat of ancient Hawaiian royalty.
The Big island is also the largest mountain on planet Earth. If the island of Hawaii was measured from its base at the bottom of the ocean, to the top of its world-famous snow-capped mountain, Mauna Kea, it would even eclipse Mount Everest in height! Since Big Island Hawaii is also the geologically youngest island, it doesn’t boast very many sand beaches. The forces of erosion haven’t had enough time to wear away the island’s shores to the extent of Oahu. Therefore, Oahu naturally has more of what would be considered world class beaches.
With the attraction of Oahu, and the ease of the entrenched tourist industry there; who goes to an outer island like the Big Island Hawaii? Unless tourists take an additional flight, and in some cases additional quarantine time, they would most likely rather save money and go to Oahu.
This is where the healing of The Big Island of Hawaii begins.
Where you aware that the Oxybenzone in your sunscreen kills coral? and that coral feeds the fish?
Unless you spend a lot of time on tropical beaches, you might not realize that the sunscreen you bought at your store back home has oxybenzone in it. If you place that sunscreen in your bag, take it to Hawaii, apply said sunscreen, and go into the ocean, you are effectively killing a small bit of Hawaii without realizing it.
Hawaii’s state government banned oxybenzone in 2018 but great damage had already been done. Coral damage, including bleaching, could already be seen in certain areas of Hawaii upon deep diving. Tourists also continued to buy oxybenzone rich sunscreens on the mainland and carry them into Hawaii unknowingly. The problem became so common that even local high schools have held beach days to raise awareness to beach going tourists, simultaneously providing reef safe sunscreens.
But with the post-covid era effectively ending big tourism on Hawaii, locals have been privy to a self-evident truth: Hawaii has been overly exploited and is healing in the absence of people.
The fish have returned!! Massive schools!! Ravenous gangs of tropical fish and giant manta rays swimming under the feet of local surfers. Local fish populations have made a huge comeback, as observed by locals.
Dolphins, once overly harassed by tourist boats, are left to relax and play free. Larger pelagic fish have been left to repopulate as commercial fishing tourism diminishes into nothing. Hawaii with no tourists becomes the Hawaii of old; a breadbasket in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii was once the seat of royalty to the people of the island chain, and it isn’t hard to see why.