Arrival in Australia
29 June 2015 | Townesville, Australia
We arrived in Townsville instead of Cairns to check into Australia. It was a bit closer and we had been hanging out (and I mean really--aka lying a-hull) as we had little wind and we were killing time so that we didn't arrive over the weekend and have to pay double for overtime to clear customs. We were required to notify border security two days in advance because we changed our destination for clearing in. Australia is very particular about following the rules and it is very expensive if you don't. Customs and Immigrations want to know EVERYTHING well in advance. As it was, we cleared into Townsville Australia on Monday morning bright and early. The first thing we did after we were docked in a slip was to walk to the grocery store to buy telephone and Internet simm cards. It took a few hours to jump through the hoops to activate our data simm card. We discovered in advance that clearing customs etc. over the weekend was double time and it was already going to cost us $380.00 Australian dollars to clear. That charge was to cover the Bio-Security inspection. A specific individual comes on board and wants to know everything that you have on board that isn't allowed. For example, honey, frozen meat, fresh fruits and veggies, dairy and the list goes on and on. Australia will confiscate all items not allowed and destroy everything. The gentlemen we had from Bio-Security was really only interested in termites. He spent an hour with a flashlight looking in all places possible and found nothing. Food was really unimportant to him. BUT following the rules in Australia is most important. Fines for everything and I mean everything. We heard stories of a boat being fined 10K because they had not applied for visas in advance before arriving in Australia. Rules, Rules,Rules!!!!! Have to know the game and how to play it. Very important!
After clearing customs etc. we headed for Cairns to meet up with all the fifty boats that are going to Indonesia. We already had all the necessary paperwork for Indonesia from New Caledonia (visa included) so we were all good to go. Unlike some others that were still waiting for the proper documentation...lost in mail, not filled out properly and returned. Yikes I am glad we didn't have that problem.
The Crew From Always Saturday