Day three of clearing in
05 February 2009 | Moen
We woke up to the sound of Yamaha 40hp two strokes zipping about. The shuttle traffic around here is truly amazing. I can not see how the folks around here pay for all of the gasoline at $4 a gallon. Perhaps it is the $50 million the US tax payers provide to the government annually. Or the other millions in aid that come through other channels. Who knows.
We waited the morning out in the port but found no sign of immigration. At and I had finally had enough. I dingied over to Angelique, who had received some unfortunate damage from the quay overnight, and we headed for the immigration office. It was noon and of course the office was closed.
When two o'clock rolled around and still no one showed up at the office we proceeded to the airport. We were looking for the head of immigration in Chuuk. He arrived at the airport from home about a half hour later. We made our situation clear.
It went something like this: "We have been in your port for three days and have not been cleared in. We filed for permits more than a month ago and received no confirmation or contact, even when requested, over any channel. We tried to bring aid to your outlying atolls (much like the US air drops at Christmas from Guam), but were denied. We are now being held up here. You can give us back our paperwork and we will contact our embassy and leave, or you can clear us in. Please decide and complete your process in the next hour."
He assured us that his office was working to get us in but that Pohnpei was taking more time to approve the paperwork than normal. We returned to the boats to watch the clock. Back at the port Mrs. Mori arrived and she still did not have our permits. She insisted that she be allowed to inspect our stores to see that we still had our aid package aboard. We obliged and then both At and I blew up. We had had enough of the rinky dink games and quite enough of the Pohnpei power play. We were ready to demand our prior clearances, refunds of fees, and to be on our way to Guam.
After a lot of apologies from immigration we were swayed to stay until tomorrow, at which point, we were promised, permits and stamps would be forthcoming. So far this country's government has proven pretty good at wasting people's time, insulting folks who spent thousands of dollars of their own money to assist people in the outer islands, creating the most complex entry program we have ever encountered and charging more money than anyone but the Bahamas. As a side note, we have been warned to anchor no where but in front of the Blue Lagoon because should we anchor anywhere else in the lagoon we are liable to get robbed at knife point unless we have a local aboard (this came from two Chuukese friends we had made at the port).
I'm venting. Sorry.
So off we go to anchor at the Blue Lagoon.