Friday, August 5, 2016

Cleared out of Indonesia

July 27-Aug 5

We spent a few more days playing and exploring along the north coast of Batanta, and then on July 31, headed for Sorong, about 30 miles away.

The plan for Sorong was to (a) pick up crew that were going with us to Palau (b) get re-provisioned and fueled up and (c) clear out of Indonesia.

Liko Loading Into the Dinghy

Liko and Claudia, our crew, met us on Monday afternoon, having taken the ferry down to Waisai. Liko was the instructor at Biodiversity Eco Lodge when we made our 20 dives there, and had August off. Claudia, his Chilean girlfriend, who has been traveling the world for the last year, had joined him to make this trip with us. We only knew Liko a little bit, and had never met Claudia, so we had a few trepidations about taking them on a 3 week trip. But it seems to be working out well.

Claudia is on a Grand Adventure and is always smiling and interacting with the people. Everyone wanted Selfies with Claudia!

Waiting in Line at the ATM

In the Taxi

This Taxi Driver Wanted Her Phone Number

Our biggest worry with officialdom in Sorong was our Customs paperwork. Under the new rules, we should have been able to get a 3-year "temporary importation paper" (TIP). But, we discovered when we renewed our visas a month ago in Sorong, that because we entered Indonesia via the Rally and via Sangihe (NOT an official port of entry), we only got a 3 month TIP. And there was some question whether our TIP expired on 7/27 or 8/5. Both dates were on the form, but the form is in Indonesian and Google translate helps, but is not perfect. But after several emails with ASWINDO, the agency that sponsored the Rally, they assured us that we were good until August 5. The second problem was that the Customs guy had told us that we had to have our agent contact Manado Customs (who oversees Sorong) and have our paperwork forwarded from Manado to Sorong.

So our first stop on Monday was at Customs, to make sure that all our paperwork was there and in order. The Customs guy was very nice and spoke very good English, and he said we were good to go. We made an appointment with him for Wednesday morning.

Dave Handling the Immigration Issue

The next worry was about adding two crew who had flown in to Indonesia on tourist visas, to our crewlist to check out with us on the boat. One cruiser 2 years ago had had problems doing that. He ended up essentially leaving in the middle of the night, without properly clearing out. He told everyone "Immigration doesn't want people to go out a different way than they came in." However, after further investigation--talking with another cruiser who knew the details--his problem was because his crew had overstayed their visas! I also posted on several Facebook groups for this area asking about crew flying in and leaving on the boat. Nobody had had any problems. We had talked about trying to get an agent (or local "fixer") to help us grease some palms to make it happen. But we decided to wait and see if we ran into any problems before trying that avenue.

Selfies In the Market

I spent Tuesday teaching Liko and Claudia about provisioning for 3 weeks away from civilization. We made 2 trips to the Saga supermarket and the Robinson's supermarket. Provisioning in Sorong is better than we've seen for a couple of months, but still very "out island". For example, it's difficult to find any fresh meat except chicken. Whatever imported goods are there, are VERY expensive. We did find fresh lettuce, but it was about $3 for a small head. And some "luxury" veggies like brocolli and bell peppers, as well as some CHEESE!! I just ignored the prices and stocked up on what we needed.

We also found the Telkomsel office got topped off on cell phone minutes, dropped our accumulated laundry off to be washed/dried/folded, got cash from the ATMs, and scoped out a place to go in for dinner. All of this is more difficult than in most countries we've been, because our Indonesian is almost non-existant, and very few common people speak English. Between smiles, gestures, Google Translate, and sometimes a helpful bypasser, we managed to get everything done.

The Dinghy Dock and Fuel Dock at Sorong (Behind Navy Boat)

Meanwhile, Dave was working on getting diesel fuel and gasoline, to make sure we were completely full when we left Sorong. The guys at the fuel depot behind the navy boat were very helpful and friendly. We jugged 4 25-liter jugs twice to get topped off on diesel. And a couple of jugs of gasoline.

Dave also took one of our air compressor filters into EON Engineering to be re-packed with new filter material. Wick, an Australian, tests, repairs, and refurbishes dive tanks and dive compressors.

Wednesday was checkout day. We started at Immigration, crossing our fingers that we wouldn't have any issues.

We dressed conservatively (everyone complaining about wearing long pants, collared shirts, and closed toe shoes, because of the heat). See sign at Immigration, right.

We made sure we had plenty of copies of crew lists and copies of the passport picture pages. It took about a half an hour, and we had no problem at all, nor any questions about where our crew came from. Dave double-checked every passport that we had been correctly stamped out.

Sign at Immigration

Sign Left Over from Ramadan Celebrations

At that point, we split up, and Dave headed for Customs, and we headed for the fresh veggie market. Here we stocked up on several bags full of fresh local veggies. Claudia saw a table selling beetlenut (a plant-based drug that the locals chew in this part of the world). She had always wanted to try it, so she bought a trial bundle of all the stuff needed, and got someone to explain how it was to be used. (she hasn't tried it yet).

The Beetlenut Table - Available Fresh or Dried

Dave ended up spending nearly all day trying to get finished with our clearance out. Customs wants to come out to the boat and take pictures (to make sure the boat we are clearing out is in fact the same boat that cleared in, and has all the expensive gear still aboard). Then he went to the Harbormaster, only to find out that Customs had forgotten to give him a piece of paper he needed. So back to Customs... then back to Harbormaster, only to be told that he needed to clear out with Quarantine, which is halfway across town. It was nearly 5pm before he came back to the boat, exhausted. But we had accomplished everything we needed... except for one thing.

When we were in Batanta, Dave had found a nice beach with only a slight slope, that dries at low tide. He wanted to beach the boat on the upcoming New Moon tide, to change the zincs in the outdrive. And he wanted a piece of 1/2" plywood, about 2 feet wide, to help keep the keels from sinking in the sand. So Dave called our friend Victor, a guy who speaks really good English and has a construction equipment company, to see if Victor could tell him where to get the plywood. Victor offered to get the wood we needed, and cut it to size, and deliver it to the boat. Unfortunately, Victor couldn't find 1/2" plywood anywhere. So we adjusted the requirement to 8" wide boards, cut in 2-ft lengths. Unfortunately, Victor's guys misunderstood the discussion, and cut the 8" wide boards into 2" wide strips!! So instead of delivering our wood on Weds afternoon, Victor called apologising, and said he'd get the correct wood to us in the morning.

So instead of taking off for Batanta and our haulout place at 8am, we were stuck waiting around for Victor to deliver the wood we needed. That gave me a chance to have one last crack at Saga, to pick up a couple more heads of lettuce, and a batch of fresh shrimp.

Finally Underway

Finally we were away at about noon, with the wood onboard. Now we were worried about getting to our anchorage 32 miles away before dark. But for once, we had uncharacteristically good wind, on our quarter, and later on our beam. With a double-reefed main and a single reef in the genoa, and a little current behind us, we were making 10 knots over the bottom in 22 knots of wind. Wheeee!! Everyone onboard had a blast, and got a little sail-handling experience, and a turn at the wheel. We arrived at our anchorage well before dark, and had a chance to do another recon of the beach that we were planning to beach on the next day.

It was nice being at anchor in nice calm clean water again! (Sorong is a fairly dirty harbor and has a nasty chop when the wind opposes the current).

We go into the beach on the high tide tomorrow, and will spend the day beached, scrubbing the bottom and doing saildrive maintenance. Then we'll be off toward Palau (doing day-hops around the E end of Waigeo for a couple of days).
At 8/5/2016 12:40 AM (utc) our position was 00°46.78'S 130°44.82'E

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