Monday, July 14, 2008

Checking into Australia

Kika has had a spring clean courtesy of Australian Quarantine and their $240 fee. I was expecting a similar procedure to New Zealand - ask for fresh produce, honey, pop-corn etc, inspect anything with soil attached to it - walking boots, camping equipment, bike tyres then disappear with their sack of swag. Not Australia.

They weren't interested in walking books or bike tyres instead all lockers containing food were emptied, and any insects found were duly zapped and put in a sample jar for their records. Embarrassingly we had some rice which was infested with
additional insect protein, a couple of cockroaches scampered away as their hiding places were dismantled and some fans we were given in Epi turned out to be crawling with insects. I intended to "bomb the boat" with insecticide in Australia anyway, with no fresh produce onboard and any insects in a weakened state after the quarantine visit - now is a perfect opportunity.
Not only were the quarantine officers thorough, we had six customs officials and two sniffer dogs onboard. Two for the paper work, two dog handlers, one to video the dogs at work, and one more to empty any lockers they suspecting of harbouring any illegal substances. Eventually we were given a clean bill of health and returned to the Fanny Bay anchorage by mid-day. Checking-in here isn't simply the bureaucratic formality it is in many other countries.

While here I have various pressing jobs, which will mean less frequently blog updates, but I'll be uploading some photos over the next few days. The most urgent task is to find a new crew. Charlotta is returning to Sweden from Australia. I also require a cruising permit for Indonesia which will take at least 3 weeks to arrive and can't apply for that until I have a confirmed crew list. The result is I'll probably be in Darwin for at least a month. Still on the basis of a short visit into town yesterday it should be an enjoyable stay. The list of boat jobs is growing, here's a sample:
  • Slap on a couple more coats of anti-fouling
  • Patch the spray hood
  • Investigate why the roller furling intermittently becomes very stiff
  • Replace the gooseneck bolt which has sheared-off at the nut
  • Fix wind/water generator when the spares arrive from the UK
  • Check engine alignment
  • Change the angle of the wind-steering to try to minimise oversteer
  • Investigate electronic autopilot intermittent problems
  • Make a water collection system
  • Make a sun-cover
  • 200 hour engine service
  • Replace the LED tri-colour again
  • Obtain a cruising permit and visa for Indonesia
  • Provision for Indonesia
  • Various vanishing, epoxy, gel-coat and paint cosmetic items that need attention
  • and finally.... befriend a kangaroo and find some salt water crocs in the wild.
looks like it'll be another exhausting time in port, can't wait to get sailing again...

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