Maui, Hawaii

Tag: Sugar Beach 104

Life in our new COVID-19 reality

Aren’t these strange dystopian times we are currently living in? It is so surreal that the entire world is facing this same COVID-19 crisis at the same time. We here on Maui are fortunate to face social distancing and school closures in the tropics instead of say in winter-bound Edmonton. Maui itself has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time.

The Governor of the State of Hawaii asked two days ago for a 30 day halt to travel to the State of Hawaii to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help slow the demand on our healthcare system. He is however unable to stop flights from arriving, that would be something the federal government would need to decree. All cruise ship stops are currently halted for 30 days (ships can refuel and resupply but noone may disembark).

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino announced new public health emergency rules for Maui County effective this Friday March 20th at 7:45AM. As I read it, restaurants and cafes can still serve take-out (no dine-in), public attractions are to close, the Road to Hana (together with all its roadside stops) is closed with exception to local traffic (all tours including private drivers are halted). Grocery stores, convenience stores, banks and others will remain open per the article.

If you are on Maui, do read the article. Beach parks remain open, sounds like golf remains available. We are encouraged to go outside and exercise, just maintain social distancing.

the view from the Kihei Surfside hallway this afternoon. A little overcast.

What does this all mean for your Maui booking?

First, we and our condos are still here. The condos are being well-cleaned and sanitized and are ready for guests. After a busy winter season Sig is tackling some of his maintenance projects. And did you hear we replaced a number of our mattresses last month?

If you have booked your Maui vacation rental with me, please contact me directly. I have reached out to all our guests arriving through end of April to discuss the terms of your contract and reschedule your stay.

For all non-Airbnb guests, if you have a balance payment due, please contact us before making your final payment. If you are more than 60 days away from your arrival, you can still cancel and get your deposit back subject to the terms of the rental agreement. We certainly hope that travel will again be possible in the next few months.

What does this mean for us?

Well, as with everyone else in our industry we are currently experiencing many cancellations/reschedules. We will continue to pay our cleaners even for the cancelled cleans to help them remain financially afloat. We very much look forward to COVID-19 settling down and the world becoming more stable again. And we look forward to welcoming you here on Maui for your next Maui trip! Hopefully in one of our beautiful Maui Oceanview Condos.

In the mean time, one would hardly believe it’s high season. In the past two days I’ve twice been able to easily turn left from Keonekai onto South Kihei Road at the unregulated intersection. I wonder just how slow it will get…. Hopefully not for long, our tourist economy will be hurting for a long time.

Safeway update – well stocked, except I noticed there was no rice, no pasta and little fresh meat available. I did not check for toilet paper.

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How do you fold up those beach chairs?

my Tommy Bahama beach chair – sadly not at the beach!

You’re probably wondering what this title is about. If you’ve been to Maui, you’ve likely seen people struggling with beach chairs. They are so convenient to have and quite comfy to sit in. But when it comes to folding them up…. there is a trick to it.

Here is a little how-to video on how to fold up the Tommy Bahama beach chair as sold at our local Costco. These are convenient backpack chairs with a little cooler compartment and an additional bag to store other stuff in. No, they are not theft proof, please never leave anything of value unattended at the beach.

Once you are ready to fold up the chair, the trick is to stand behind the chair. You stand on the cross bar, lean over the chair and lift on both arm rests simultaneously. The chair will easily fold up, making it so much easier to carry and store.

Please, before you bring the chair into your rental car and/or the condo, knock off all the sand. Sand is corrosive not only to the chair itself, but also really beats up the condo flooring and closet tracks.

What other beach gear do we provide at our condos?

Each of our Maui Oceanview Condos is outfitted with 2-4 beach chairs, 1-2 boogie boards (please, use at your own risk), one beach towel per person and a cooler. Sometimes other guests will leave beach umbrellas behind, so before you go out and buy one, check the beach gear closet. However, they have a tendency to fly away unless drilled properly into the sand, so we do not provide them.

Not staying at one of our condos?

Before you run out and buy a beach chair, check your condo. They may provide them. If not, these run about $34/each at our Costco in Kahului. However, then you have chairs to dispose of at the end of your trip. You could also check with a nearby snorkel or activities store. Often you can rent them.

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Outrigger canoe paddling

High school paddling season is coming to an end on Maui. In fact, today is the state championship regatta on Big Island. The winning teams from Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Big Island all compete for the state title.

This was my family’s first experience with outrigger canoe paddling. Turns out, it’s quite the sport.

Our high school’s team had 50+ kids participating, boys, girls, mixed, JV (junior varsity) and Varsity teams. They practiced daily after school, either at Kahului Harbor where the cruise ships dock (the water is kinda nasty, definitely not a swimming beach) or in the school’s weight room. Then Saturdays they had paddling regattas. The actual event would start around 8:45AM with an opening ceremony. This would include Hawaiian chanting and always the singing of Hawaii’s anthem Hawai’i Pono’i. The regatta (and ensuing meal) would usually be over by 1PM.

While our kids have participated in a variety of high school sports, this has definitely been the most Hawaiian experience. Students and parents arrived at each regatta at 7AM to prepare and serve breakfast to the team. Sometimes it consisted of muffins and fruit, other times parents went all out with fried rice. After the regatta was completed, we’d serve lunch also – the two times I was involved it was shoyu (soy sauce) chicken and then sweet and sour pork, cooked in a campfire setting. I must say, in a way it reminded me of our German heritage – keep everyone well fed at all times 🙂

Did you know?

Canoes weigh about 400 lbs. This means everyone pitches in whenever a canoe needs to be moved. Canoes can be connected with two beams to create a double canoe (you take off the outrigger for this) – which then weighs 800 lbs.

They are teams of six. The rear member is the steersman. The first three paddlers are the strongest with the best form.

Transporting a 400 lb canoe across the road to the water. All hands on deck

Want to give paddling a try?

Curious to give outrigger paddling a try? Both the Kihei Canoe Club across from the North Kihei ABC store and also the Maui Canoe Club just North of Sugar Beach Resort have visitor paddling opportunities. Check out their websites for more information. Disclaimer, I don’t think they feed you, but you could head over to the Sugar Beach Bake Shop after your morning paddle for a second breakfast.

Hawai’i Pono’i

Did you know – Hawai’i used to be a monarchy? You can still tour the palace – Iolani Palace – in downtown Honolulu. Compared to European palaces, it is a small affair, but nonetheless, it is the only royal palace in the United States.

The lyrics to Hawai’i Pono’i were written by King David Kalakaua in 1874, the music by Henri Berger, the king’s royal bandmaster at the time. It served as the national anthem and now is the state anthem and is sung in the Hawaiian language. Even now, after annexation, becoming a US territory and then obtaining statehood in 1959, Hawai’i Pono’i is sung at many events throughout the islands. For much more information on the controversial overthrow of the monarchy, check this link.

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Blue Door Bread

Hawaiian MoonsI’ve noticed a sign on my way to the Kalama Park hockey rink lately. Truth is, it may have been there for years, I’m not sure. But I have noticed it lately. It says Blue Door Bakery. Having grown up in Austria the word ‘bakery’ is quick to catch my eye. I love most baked goods and especially a good loaf of bread.

After a few weeks of seeing the sign, I stopped in one afternoon – but sadly the bakery was closed. So I went online and saw that the Blue Door Bakery is open Monday-Fridays 8am to 2pm (or until they sell out). I haven’t been able to make it there during those times, so I did the next best thing – I went to Hawaiian Moons, the Kihei organic food store, one of several local stores that sells Blue Door Bakery bread.

I picked up a loaf of sesame semolina – all they had left by the time I got there. It was delicious! According to their website this bread is all natural organic and uses old-fashioned natural-rise methods (instead of yeast). The semolina tasted like sourdough bread to me. I don’t know if sourdough is the correct term, but …. hey, I love EATING bread, I don’t know much about baking bread.

Today I needed more – so back to Hawaiian Moons I headed for another loaf. This time I picked up a loaf of Levain. This one doesn’t have the sourdough taste. Absolutely delicious. If you like bread and like me do not care for toast bread, give this local bakery a try.

Hawaiian Moons

hawaiian moons
the sliced sesame semolina loaf

Hawaiian Moons is a small organic grocery store on South Kihei Road across from Kamaole 1 beach (near Cafe o Lei). If you are staying at one of our condos, be sure to take the Pueo Premier Card which should be on the counter near the keys or by any restaurant menus. It gives you a 10% discount off anything in the store. Besides introducing you to organic/natural food loving locals and visitors, the store also has a good section of healthy (natural) take out foods. Please do RETURN the Pueo discount card to the condo so the next guest can use it.

If you aren’t staying at one of our condos, stop in at the Kamalii Elementary School office – they sell these Pueo Premier Card for $10 cash as a school fundraiser. Help the local elementary school out and get loads of restaurant and store discounts around the island.

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It’s Hurricane Season – again

Did you know that the Pacific Ocean also has a hurricane season? I remember mainland news focusing in the Caribbean in years past, but yes, we also have hurricane season – and it also runs from June through November (6 months).

Normally we don’t get much hurricane wise, but a few years ago (2015 and 2016) we sure felt like we were on a roller coaster. At the time I wrote a number of blog posts about hurricanes and what to expect. With Hurricane Hector approaching the islands, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the topic.

 

Hurricane Hector

Wait a minute? Did you say hurricane? Yup. There is a Category 4 hurricane approaching the Hawaiian Islands as we speak.  For more scientific information on Hector, do check out the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s website. They have many details, cool graphs etc.

Hurricane Hector

Should you be concerned? At this time forecasters are saying Hector will likely miss Hawaii and not to worry. However, they point out we should keep an eye on it, just in case. A few decades ago Hurricane Iniki, the last hurricane to do major damage to Hawaii, was also forecast to miss Hawaii. Unfortunately it veered off course and did major damage to Kauai in 1992. So yes, it’s important to be aware. But no need to panic – yet. In the past number of years any hurricanes and tropical storms that have hit Hawaii, have hit Big Island and its 2 large (14,000+ ft) volcanoes first, dismantling the storm system. Maui is so-to-say rather protected.

 

What to expect from Hurricane Hector

The immediate things we  are likely to see are an increase in clouds, wind and humidity. We may even get rain here in Kihei (honestly, that would be a great thing – it’s bone dry). What you however can’t see, is how the ocean currents are affected by the storm. Please, during and for a few days after the storm if you must go to the beach (if the weather looks ok), go to a beach with life guards and actually take the time to ask them about the ocean conditions. These storm systems can and do affect ocean currents, stirring things up and can increase chances of shark vs human activity. Please be safe and if in doubt, do not go out.

As I mentioned, at this moment it looks like Maui will be fine. Please keep an eye on local media (Maui Now, KHON) for updates and please use common sense.

 

Out of curiosity – what to expect if Maui were to get hit

Good question, I haven’t actually witnessed a hurricane. I have a disaster preparedness sheet in each of our condo’s binders – review it and monitor local (not Oahu, but Maui specific) media. However, Maui’s Civil Defense has a list of what to do. Check it out.

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Happy 7 year anniversary to us!

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

Sugar Beach Resort aerial
Sugar Beach Resort aerial

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

aerial2
Kihei Surfside aerial

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.

Happy 7 year anniversary to us!

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What should be on your Maui packing list

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?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:

  • bedding
  • towels
  • beach towels
  • 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.

If you are staying at one of our Maui Oceanview Condos’ apartments, you will also find the following:

  • 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)
  • hair dryer
  • 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!

Maui packing list
Are you missing the beach?

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BOOKED February opening at our Sugar Beach condo!

Sugar Beach lawn
Ahhhh… what a place to enjoy the view and work on your tan!

Thank you. This opening has now booked and is no longer available.

We’ve had a cancellation at our Sugar Beach condo. Yes, this means a rare February opening during the height of humpback whale watching season!

The dates available are February 18-28, 2017 and we ask for a 7 night minimum to fill this gap.

Our condo is located at North Kihei’s popular Sugar Beach Resort. It is a ground floor condo, facing into the courtyard, just 50 steps away from 5 mile long Sugar Beach. What a place to go for your morning (or sunset) walks! This is also a great place to watch the whales!

This is a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom condo with a 2 year-old California-king sized bed and a queen pull-out sofa in the livingroom. It sleeps up to four guests. Check here for much more information!

We would love to have you stay at our condo! With this being the height of whale season, these dates won’t last long!

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Frequently asked security questions

I thought it might be helpful to address some of your security questions. If you have any others you’d like me to address, or if you have first hand experience with any of these (and better answers), please let me know.

This post is not to scare you. Maui is a very safe place to visit. But, please use common sense, just as you would at home.

What do you do with your phone and keys when you go to the beach?

keawakapu
I love sunset at the beach!

Is it safe to just leave them with your towel? Honestly, don’t take anything of value to the beach. If you must bring your phone (I know, it doubles as our camera, book, etc), make sure someone stays with your stuff when you go in the water. Or, pick up a water proof case, either at home or at the ABC store. I know of people who have used ziploc bags to protect their phones when going paddle boarding. Would I? Probably not… If you are staying at one of our condos, we have keyless entry, so it’s just the car key you need to worry about.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the rental car?

Would you leave valuables in the car where you live? Probably not. If you must, maybe because you can’t check into the condo til 3 or 4pm or because you have a late flight and couldn’t get a late check-out, place everything in the trunk of the car and do not open the trunk to get things out (in case anyone is casing your vehicle). If you are renting a jeep, there is no trunk, everything is visible (and accessible if it’s a soft-top). In six years of living here, we haven’t had a vehicle break-in, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

A few years ago I wrote this post on ‘What to do about late check-out at your condo?‘ Have a read. Did you know, most flights to Canada and a surprising number of flights back to the mainland leave in the evening? Check-out at our condos is at 11 AM.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the condo?

Generally yes. But, know that there are others who by necessity have access to the condo. The owner, the property manager (in the case of our condos, we are the owner and property manager), the cleaning lady and the manager of the complex you are staying at (they need to have access in case of emergencies and for the quarterly pest-control treatments). If you are staying at our condos, we have personal safes for you to use (I have an override key should you forget the code or the battery randomly dies). Otherwise, I recommend just placing your valuables in a drawer or at least out of sight. It’s happened a few times where I’ve had to go into one of our ground-floor condos (with guest consent) to repair something, and seen the blinds wide open and laptops, ipads, phones and once even a wallet just laying out. When staying in a ground floor condo especially, please don’t do that. It’s asking for a break-in. At minimum close the blinds when you leave.

Is it safe to walk at night?

You may have noticed, it is really dark on Maui at night. Why is this? Power is super expensive here and street lighting isn’t cheap. On the plus side, it makes for some great star viewing. Generally the tourist areas especially are quite safe to be walking at night. But use common sense. I also strongly recommend taking a flashlight. A few years ago I didn’t see the edge of the sidewalk – ouch. I was walking with crutches for over a month.

All in all, Maui is a pretty safe place to be. But like most places, we also have drug and homeless problems and crimes of opportunity do happen. A little common sense will help you have a great vacation – I’d hate for you to have a negative experience because of something preventable.

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Hurricane Madeline and Hurricane Lester

There are two hurricanes headed towards Hawaii. Hurricane Madeline is scheduled to arrive Wednesday/Thursday while Hurricane Lester will be here for the weekend.

It’s hurricane season in the Central Pacific (June through November). Hey Cara, I thought El Nino was over and this was supposed to be an easier summer. Yeah, I thought so too.

Hurricane Madeline has now been upgraded to a Category Four storm and is headed for Big Island, currently showing to veer off to the South of us. It is scheduled to hit Big Island Wednesday, which means it could be impacting us on Maui then or by Thursday.

hurricane madeline
Hurricane Madeline’s current track

She is closely followed by Hurricane Lester (currently still in the Eastern Pacific), which is currently a Category Three storm and scheduled to arrive in Hawaii Friday/Saturday. Note, this storm is still a ways off and a lot can happen between now and then.

hurricane madeline
Hurricane Lester’s current track

 

What should you expect?
The past few years all our hurricane warnings have ended up being non-events in Kihei area. Yes, we have gotten humidity, but rain and wind have been negligible. The Big Island usually blocks and tears storms apart, with the high mountains messing with their wind patterns. Big Island has been dumped on and seen some damage the past few years. I in no way want to minimize this. But while we feel very badly for them, we are hoping the systems change course or see a similar thing happening again.
In the mean time: be prepared
1. check the hurricane information in the binder in your condo (if you are staying in one of our condos).
2. be prepared by filling the rental car with gas, making sure you have water to last you several days and food supplies. Often in a storm power can get knocked out and in a bad situation, it can take a few days for it to be restored (make sure all devices are charged, check the batteries in the flashlight – bedroom closet, let us know if you need batteries, we have lots). Our water treatment facility on Maui is located in the flood zone, so that can also be an issue. Emergency people say to have at least a gallon of water per person per day for several days on hand, so you can drink and wash. (fill jugs and pots and go buy some gallon jugs if need be). Check that you have enough food to get you through a few days in case you can’t make it to a grocery store (or they are closed). Have some cash on hand (again in case of power outage).
3. stay out of the ocean once the storm hits and for several days after. Not only do we get a lot of run-off from the islands when it rains a lot, but these big storms can change the dynamics within the ocean (currents etc) and it increases the risk of shark attacks. Best to just enjoy the ocean from shore.
4. stay informed. While the main news on TV focuses largely on Oahu, you can get Maui specific news online: MauiNow and MauiWatch on facebook are good sources.
5. just before the hurricane is scheduled to hit, bring in all the lanai furniture and secure (close) the windows.
If you are staying at one of our condos, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
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