It’s February and that means it’s time for the free self-guided tour of some of Maui’s artists’ studios. This annual event is called Maui Open Studios. If you enjoy exploring and art – check this out. I promise you, you will find places on Maui you have never been before and meet some interesting people along the way.
Grab a copy of the print guide or browse the online PDF edition. Then each weekend check out some new favorite artists, watch them in action, talk to them about their art and maybe buy a very unique souvenir of your Maui trip!
Last weekend was their opening gala. Here is the upcoming schedule (weekends, from 11AM-6PM)
1st weekend: February 10-11 Upcountry
2nd weekend: February 17-18 West, Central, North Shore and Hana
3rd weekend: February 24-25 Kihei and Wailea
Did I mention the event is free?
One of my favorites
One of my personal favorites, Beth Cooper, is participating in the 3rd weekend event here in Kihei. Over the years I’ve bought a few of her paintings for our condos and many of our cards (prints of our paintings).
You can also find Beth’s paintings in our Sugar Beach condo (her Tahiti scene in our living room) and at our Palms at Wailea condo (a small beach scene in the hallway). Here is another picture of one of Beth’s cards.
This past week has been crazy. In the past nine days six tourists have died in the ocean with another near-fatality this morning. No, the sharks are not to blame – these men in their 50s and 60s died while snorkeling/scuba diving. I’ve linked these short articles so you can read a few of the details.
My condolences to their loved ones. This is a tragedy. When we go on vacation, we plan for things such as bad weather, sickness, even poor accommodations. But certainly not death.
How common are water-related deaths?
While this string of deaths from the past week is unheard of, water-related deaths are unfortunately more common than most think. According to statistics compiled by MauiNow we average between 12-25 deaths/year by drowning on Maui, the majority of them tourists. For much more information, please check out this article filled with statistics from MauiNow.
What should you do?
Should you avoid the ocean altogether? No. I am not trying to scare you. But, it is important to understand that while Maui is paradise, it’s not Disney. Bad stuff can and does happen, you need to understand risks and take action accordingly. Consider these suggestions:
If you can’t swim, you should not go snorkeling. As an alternative, check out all the local fish at the Maui Ocean Center. It really is well done.
Never snorkel (or dive) alone. Always use the buddy system and keep an eye on your buddy.
Be aware of water and wave conditions. The waves pick up at a certain time in the morning – snorkel early in the morning (before 9) for best conditions.
There is some discussion online about full-face masks possibly trapping CO2 in the mask. While this is an unproven theory, ask the pros and be sure you know how to properly use your equipment, making sure it is working correctly.
Remember – yes, some people die in drowning related accidents. However, consider that in 2016 we had 2.6 million visitors come to the island of Maui. According to the graph above, thirteen of them drowned. While that in itself is awful, the odds are you will be just fine. However do use common sense and be careful.
What to do if you see someone not moving in the water?
Call for help (9-1-1), try to get help to move them out of the water as soon as possible and start CPR.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since we dove head-first into the vacation rental business, buying four condos in five months. At the time we knew rather little about what we were doing. Sure we had been long-term rental landlords for years, so we knew about property management. But vacation rentals are a completely different ball game. There are many lessons learned in the past seven years.
We were fortunate to have several people guide us as we entered the world of vacation rentals. The owners of Kihei Surfside and Sugar Beach each gave me an information download over lunch of what they had learned in years of vacation renting. The first year we worked closely with a vacation rental company at Kihei Surfside – they were a great resource. Very importantly we were fortunate to retain a fantastic cleaning lady from day one who has brought her expertise and knowledge to our business.
Four things will make or break your vacation rental business
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Guests want the condo to be clean and they want it to be well-maintained. This is really a no-brainer. But did you know the majority of condo owners live off-island? Both cleanliness and maintenance slip big-time when you don’t have a hands-on on-island owner to check and stay on top of things. As on-island owners we walk into our condos between all bookings. Our wonderful cleaner Cindy has been cleaning our condos for seven years now. She is a perfectionist and together with Beth (an amazing artist – we have a number of her paintings hanging in our condos) does her best to keep our condos in top shape given the time constraints she works within. Sig (my husband) is our maintenance man – also a perfectionist he enjoys going into the condos and making little (or big) improvements, tinkering with things to get them ‘just right’ for the next guest. If you stay at one of our condos and something needs fixing, please call him and if urgent, he will take care of it within the day, or add it to his ‘to-do list’ for the next check-out.
In today’s online world we expect quick and good communication. I try – I really do try to respond to your inquiries as quickly as possible. Sometimes life happens, but do know that I am on it.
Isn’t this key with everything in life? Please read our reviews (on this website, our web listings and our guestbook entries). They speak for themselves.
Do we have it all together? Does anyone ever? We do try our best with our vacation rental business and hope that you have a wonderful vacation when you stay at one of our condos!
Seven years ago today we purchased our first two condos. Sugar Beach 104 and Kihei Surfside 405. We had just sold our dairy farm and moved to Maui with hopes of getting into the vacation rental business. What a life-changing move that was. As we adjusted to island-living Sig dove headfirst into real estate and spent countless hours researching properties in South Kihei, reading online, checking out open houses, talking with realtors etc. Hard to believe that we are now celebrating our 7 year anniversary!
Sugar Beach 104
When we bought Sugar Beach 104, it had recently reopened after being closed for an extensive building remodel for a year. There were many distressed properties and the timing was good. As a family with young children we liked the ground floor location (no stairs or elevator to deal with) and that the kids could spill out onto the lawn just off the lanai, giving more living space. We tackled a renovation head-on: new bathroom, new flooring (out with the suspicious carpet and old tile), new sofa and luxurious Averte shades. We removed the popcorn ceiling and repainted all the walls. We took careful inventory of all everything in the condo, replacing sheets and towels, pots and pans, small appliances and TVs as needed. It was fun putting our own stamp on the condo, and then listing it on VRBO to rent it out.
Since then we’ve tackled several additional projects – with any rental property there is always something that needs fixing or replacing.
Kihei Surfside 405
Kihei Surfside 405 was an entirely different operation. We were fortunate to purchase that condo from hands-on owners Cynthia and Bill. Unlike our Sugar Beach condo, they passed on a full roster of bookings. They took the time to sit down with us and pass on their condo rental knowledge they had gathered from years of experience. I still remember that lunch at Gannons, furiously taking notes. I appreciate the time they took to teach this newby the ropes. Their condo needed little work – we replaced some of the art work (they took some of their favorites) and checked an inventory list to make sure we had everything needed.
Of course, since purchasing Kihei Surfside 405 in September 2010 we’ve done several remodels. In 2012 we replaced the kitchen cabinets and repainted. Then in 2015 the entire building was shut down for five months for extensive exterior work. We took the opportunity to replace the carpeting, blinds and sofa. Every year we take an inventory and replace items on an as-needed basis. Most recently we’ve added a Vitamix and replaced the TV.
Drowning on Maui – what an upbeat topic, I know. No, there is unfortunately no pun intended. This is just a public service announcement, reminding you about the dangers of snorkeling and water activities. Not just here on Maui – anywhere really.
This past week there were two instances of visitors drowning while snorkeling at the reef just off Keawakapu Beach in South Kihei. No, there weren’t any sharks involved (to my knowledge). From what I’ve read in the media, both victims were snorkeling with their spouses (having a buddy system is very good). In both instances, one spouse returned to shore safely, then realized their partner wasn’t with them. Both victims (one on Friday, another on Saturday) were brought to shore and received CPR from other beachgoers until emergency services got there. Our condolences to the families.
Here are the two articles, one happened Thursday, the second Friday. Both visitors were in their 50s, no mention of them having had pre-existing health conditions.
Is drowning common? Well…. yes this is paradise, but it’s not Disney, and unfortunately that means stuff does happen…. from what I see in the news, it’s usually people cliff diving or the more middle-aged (and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all) people snorkeling. Cliff diving, well, ’nuff said….. but many don’t realize that snorkeling is actually a strenuous activity, especially for those who aren’t good swimmers or maybe aren’t as healthy as they wish they were.
Should you avoid the water altogether? Probably not. But do be careful and know your limits. Please be cognizant of your ability. Never swim alone – always go with a buddy and stay with a buddy. What an awful way to end your vacation.
Coming to Maui this summer and looking for something for the kids to do? How about enrolling them in kids golf lessons? Our friends Renee and Eddie Lee run the golf lessons at the Wailea Golf Academy, located at the Wailea Emerald and Gold golf course. While you can definitely book private lessons for the kids (they can also set you up with adult lessons, by the way), they are running six summer camps this summer (in June, July and August) – for beginner and more advanced students.
Our kids have taken many lessons from Renee. She is great with kids of all ages, patient and in control.
Their lessons are in a private setting at the top of the Emerald & Gold Course’s driving range. For us parents, it has the most beautiful view of the ocean.
The beginner camps are held from 9am-12noon daily on
June 14, 15 & 16
July 12, 13 & 14
August 16, 17 & 18
The intermediate camps are also from 9am-12noon daily
June 21, 22 & 23
July 5, 6 & 7
August 9, 10 & 11
Not here for all three dates in a set – no problem, you can also sign up just for one day of the camp. For more information about the camps check out their website or call them at 808-875-7450. Prices are posted with a discounted rate for residents (parents must hold a valid Hawaii driver’s license).
Additional kids golf lessons
The (cheaper) Maui Nui Golf Course in Kihei also offers kids lessons from time to time and I believe is offering summer camps also. Please inquire directly with them for further information.
I just had a call from a guest who needs to cancel his June 2-9, 2017 booking at our beautiful Maui Kamaole I-103 condo!
How about a Maui getaway? We just renovated this condo this past fall. It is an over-sized one bedroom, two bathroom condo. California king bed in the bedroom and a queen Murphy bed (the kind that hides in the cabinet) in the over-sized living. No need to sleep on a pull-out couch!
Sleeps 4 guests.
$160/night plus $135 cleaning and 13.417% tax. Minimum stay is 4 nights.
Have you ever had a juicy tree-ripened mango? Be sure to find one when you come to Maui!
When we bought our house, we planted a dwarf mango tree. Somewhere along the line the tree forgot that it is a dwarf and has been growing like crazy. After its first five years in our yard, this year we have a deent crop of mangos. If only they were ripe.
For some reason our tree ripens about 2 months after others here in Kihei. However, the good news is that the mangos don’t all ripen at once but rather over a 3-4 month time period. Perfect! We have several months to enjoy our fruit.
Did you know, some people are allergic to mango skin? It has the same chemical compound as poison ivy. If this is you ~ I feel so sorry for you!
Since my mangos are far from ripe (it’ll be another month or two), I’ve sourced mangos from a friend. They are delicious. If you are in Kihei and would like some, I can tell you where to find them. He sells them for $2/fruit (cheaper than Yee’s which is $3.50/mango). Please, don’t buy your mangos at Costco or even the grocery store… treat yourself to a local-grown tree-ripened mango! You won’t regret it!
How to cut a mango
First set the mango on end. It is a narrow long pit so you cut parallel to the fruit.
Cut alongside the pit on both sides.
Score each half of the mango, then push in at the center while pulling the edges down. You can either eat it like that, or slice the mango cubes off the peel.
Lucky me ~ I enjoyed this delicious breakfast candy this morning! Only two mangos left…
Currently there’s an interesting discussion thread on Tripadvisor’s Maui forum that I thought I’d expand on. When you book a vacation rental condo on Maui, what can you expect to find and what should you bring from home? What should be on your Maui packing list?
Vacation rentals and what is provided can vary greatly across the US and Canada. On Maui you can generally expect to find the following in a fully furnished vacation rental condo:
a starter pack of paper towel, toilet paper, trash bags and soap
dishes, pots and pans, small kitchen appliances
Beyond that it really depends on the owner, management company and cleaner. Some have a bare cupboard policy, others allow certain things to be left behind by guests. It’s a good idea to ask the owner/management company.
beach chairs, boogie boards, cooler (no umbrella unless left by a guest)
laundry soap/fabric softener
dish washer pods
tin foil, plastic wrap
fully stocked spice rack, salt & pepper
small DVD library (and a dedicated condo netflix account)
small book library
Maui guide book
power bar (to charge electronics)
laundry drying rack
basic cleaning supplies
Our policy is to evaluate things left behind by guests – we will leave some cooking oil and condiments if they look to be in good shape. If you are a guest and think something is questionable, please throw it out.
Your Maui packing list
Things you may consider bringing if you have room in your luggage:
a few ziploc baggies (for leftovers, snacks, your cell phone at the beach, to pack that wet swim suit on your last day)
extra trash bags (we provide 3-4)
your favorite bar of soap, shampoo/conditioner
sunscreen and after-sun care product
your favorite spices (a couple spoonfuls in a ziploc bag in checked luggage)
a few extra rolls of toilet paper (we supply 2 rolls/toilet)
a swim suit or two and a favorite beach cover-up if desired
casual clothing and shoes (even at the fancy restaurants all you need is a pair of khakis and Hawaiian-style top or a cute sundress).
But guess what? If you forget anything, we have stores here! You can just easily run out and buy it!