Patience is a virtue
28 June 2012 | Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands
When we were in Taioa Bay, we were told that another cruiser had a few parts shipped from the USA to Nuku Hiva. We were thinking of having our propeller parts for our outboard, shipped to Tahiti and we would pick them up when we arrived there. But, after many trips of rowing, and hearing this news, we decided to check into having our parts shipped here to Nuku Hiva.
Once we moved back over to Taiohae Bay, we contacted this cruiser and asked them about their experience and how they went about getting parts shipped. They gave us an email address of an agent they used. The agent helped assist them with shipment to Tahiti, custom clearance and then shipment to Nuku Hiva and then the package being driven from the airport, which is on the other side of the island, to here at Taiohae Bay. They said it took about a week for them to receive their parts.
After emailing the agent and then not hearing back from her, we decided to ask the French lady at Yacht Services if we could have a package sent to her. She said "of course, should take 3-4 days" and suggested that we used FedEx. Excellent! A quick phone call to Tom's parents and the package was on its way. From Ohio, it traveled to Memphis, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti and then Nuku Hiva, per the FedEx website. We were so excited when we saw that the package had been delivered to our island on Tuesday.
Wednesday, we happily walked into Yacht Services and said we wanted to pick up our package. She said she did not have it but that she had received a phone call from Customs in Papeete, Tahiti. It appears that the package was not on the island and was being held by Customs in Tahiti, awaiting paperwork from us. What paperwork? She said we needed to fax them our boat registration, our custom declaration from when we entered Polynesia and a copy of our passports. So, back to the boat we go, Tom rowing, and we grab the necessary paperwork. Another row back to shore, paperwork faxed and now we wait. Wait for what? Now we wait to see if Customs wants to charge us anything for importation fees/taxes.
Thursday around noon, we receive a call over VHF from Yacht Services
saying that yes, Customs is charging us a fee and that she needs a credit card number to pay. Into the dinghy and we row/go ashore. We give the lady our credit card and she calls Customs. We find that Customs is charging us $100 for our package. $100 for a plastic propeller, a tiny piece of metal, and all our mail? Really? We're calling it a bribe to Customs to get our package, but what can we do.
Now that Customs has the necessary paperwork and money, we ask, will the package come tomorrow, Friday? "Oh No, it is a holiday all over Polynesia, everyone will be closed", she says. So with the holiday and the weekend, we hope it arrives on Monday. We keep saying to ourselves, be patient and its island time, but we are very ready to move on to the Tuamotus.
About a week ago, I added a bunch of new photos to the Marquesas Photo Album. Check them out if you haven't seen them already.