Thursday, February 21, 2019

Kavieng Arrival and Check-In

Feb 21, Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
Google Maps Link to Kavieng

Our little fleet arrived in Kavieng a couple of days ago.

The Kavieng Anchorage
Nusa Island Retreat is Ahead of the Boats

Anchorage Waypoint: 02°35.13' S / 150°46.88' E
This is a large protected area in 20-40 feet mostly sand. Plenty of room for multiple boats. There are frequent water taxi's going to town from the resort, so anchoring further out is better for everyone.

First priority was to get checked in to PNG, get cash (Kina), sim cards/internet, and fresh food. Everyone was running out of everything, and we had been sharing the supplies between boats. And we had been off-grid internet wise for almost a month.

Advanced Formalities

There is no longer an Immigration officer in Kavieng. We understood from other cruiser's reports, that we could check in to Kavieng if we had obtained a visa in advance. We had gotten one in advance while we were in the USA, but two of our boats did not have advance visas. So we emailed our friend Jason from Scuba Ventures Kavieng asking if it was possible to clear in to Kavieng without a visa in advance.

After talking with authorities, Jase came back with this information: “Consider this information SPECIFIC to arriving in Kavieng as FIRST Port of Call. Kavieng does not have an immigration officer - Customs only. This is the process we've identified with Customs in Kavieng and Immigration in Rabaul/Kokopo to allow you to arrive in Kavieng and get an electronic visa on arrival.

Fill out the attached form and email Mr Dennis Badi, OIC Immigration Rabaul +675 7441 2713. He will enter you into the system as a free "electronic visa on arrival."

- Non-australians get sixty days and can extend for K100.
- Australians get 30 days and cannot extend - they must leave the country and re-enter.

Then sail into Kavieng and report to Kavieng Customs Office in town. Current (relieving until March) OIC is Daniel Wesley - +675 7986 9487. He will clear you into country for Customs and stamp/date your passport.

When you are clearing PNG for another country you are to email an updated copy of your form to Mr Dennis Badi again so he can clear you out of the system.

All the officers involved have been very helpful and are keen to make this all as smooth and painless as possible.”

The “attached form” is the same one we downloaded from the PNG Immigration website ( Form4_Small_craft_electronic_manifest_v2.0_dbadi.xlsx or Form4_Cruise_Ships_and_Charters_electronic_manifest_v2.0_dbadi.xlsx (it appears to be the same form with a different name).

So we emailed our forms (one from each boat) as we left internet in Indonesia. We had to guess our date of arrival in Kavieng! (it would be better if you have the capability, to wait to email your form a few days ahead of time).

At least 48 hours ahead of arrival in Kavieng, we emailed another “notice of arrival” (one email for 4 boats with all the info from the Immigration form for each boat) to (NCC stands for National Command Center).

This email was then apparently forwarded to several people, including Cyril Pagol, the normal Customs guy at Kavieng (

From this, we got back an email from Mr Pagol “Your email is noted, and as advised, your visa matters must be sorted out with PNG Immigration as anticipated before arrival in Kavieng port. I again advise that, Customs does not issue visa on arrival into any PNG ports therefore your coordination with OIC Immigration Mr. Dennis Badi is very important so that you have the documents in order to avoid inconveniences.”

Late 2019 Update: Since our visit, PNG has enabled an Advance Visa application process via their website, which simplifies this process. Start here:

When we cleared in with Kavieng Customs, they wanted a copy of our boat registration, a crew list, and a copy of our passports, plus the Customs clearance from Indonesia. We also had a printed copy of the Immigration form. They stamped our passports with date of arrival. No fee at Customs or Immigration. Later we finally found the Quarantine guy in his office, and got our Q clearance for $56 Kina per boat.

Leaving Kavieng, we re-visted Customs and received a port clearance to Rabaul.

First Stop--MONEY!

We were fortunate that our friends Jase and Jolene were living in Kavieng. Jase's help in advance made everything so much simpler. And Jolene was super helpful once we arrived, picking us all up in her van, and taking us first to an ATM, then a SIM card place, and then to Customs for check-in, plus driving us around and showing us the primary shopping spots in town. Though, Kavieng is a small town and everything is in close walking distance.

We spent the first full day doing all the necessities, before we started on the rudder repair (see the next blog post about the rudder caper).

Customs Is Conveniently Located Over the Grocery Store

Bird Flu Sign at Quarantine, in Pidgin

The Kavieng Town Beach

Results of our First Day in Kavieng

Kavieng Market - Men Selling Tobacco

PNG Staples

Happy to Find Fresh Greens

When we arrived in Kavieng, I was laid up with increasingly infected wounds on my foot and leg--originally caused by a scrape on my leg and a tiny nip from a dog who's tail I stepped on in the Ninigos weeks ago. It was clearing up and then got worse again after our river trip in New Hanover.

I was now running a fever of 101F and my leg was swollen and the sores oozing. We normally carry plenty of antibiotics but I had already run through what we had (and had given our excess to another guy in the Ninigos before mine got so bad). So Day 2 in Kavieng for me was spent waiting in line at the local clinic, and then going to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled. I was feeling so lousy at the clinic that I didn't take any pictures. I was laid up enough that most of the fun things everyone did in Kavieng, I missed out on. :(

Nusa Island Retreat: The resort was friendly and welcoming, but expensive. They welcomed us to bring our dinghies in to their beach and take one of their “banana boats” (water taxi) to Kavieng proper. They also welcomed us to come in to their bar and for their nightly buffet dinner, which cost about $28 USD per person. The total bill for 2 people with drinks and dinner was $67, (they accept credit cards). You need to tell them by 1pm if you are coming in for dinner. The buffet menu varies, but was always good.

Go in in your dinghy and check in with the office—they gave us a writeup specifically for visiting yachts. They use VHF 69 for their working channel, so stay off 69 unless you are communicating with them. With 4 boats and 8 people, we used their banana boat several times for trips to shore. The cost for us for the whole boat was K50 for a round trip—split across 4 boats, that was not too bad. They dropped us on the beach next to the market, and when we were ready to come back, we radioed them on 69 and they sent the boat to pick us up.

You can take a “local” banana boat (not from the resort) for around 1-3 Kina per person. In the mornings and late afternoons, these boats are PACKED with people coming and going from Kavieng to the island (literally standing room only). But like a shared taxi, in the middle of the day, you will wait around until the boat driver has enough people to make the trip worthwhile. On a slow day, this could take an hour.

It is also not too far to dinghy across to the market, though we felt that we needed to leave someone with the dinghies for security (not sure this was absolutely necessary).

Internet: I think Nusa Island Resort does have wifi in their bar, but it’s not reachable out in the harbor. We started picking up usable signals on our PNG Digicel phone about halfway across to Kavieng from New Hanover, and this is what we used. You can also buy sim cards in town. There are quirks about using Digicel, see the “Cell Phones and Internet” section of the Papua New Guinea Compendium (free PDF download from our website).

Provisioning: It had been a month or so since we had left Biak in Indonesia. Though we got fruits and veggies from several locations we stopped between Biak and Kavieng, we were all running low on certain things. You can find most of the basics in Kavieng, however they are out at the end of the supply line and everything is fairly expensive and sometimes they run out. For example, there was no cheese in Kavieng at any store when we arrived (a few days later, one store got a shipment that included cheese). Also, as we left, most of the stores were out of eggs, and the selection of frozen meats was pretty limited. Rabaul and Kokopo are much better for provisioning, so only get what you really need in Kavieng if you are headed for Rabaul.

There are a couple of hardware stores, but selection is limited, and again, there is the Kavieng markup. If you have time, almost anything you need can be shipped in. (our friends had 3 packages shipped to Kavieng via DHL, two were waiting in the DHL office in Kavieng, and 1 was stuck in Customs in Port Moresby awaiting payment of duties. After payment, the last parcel arrived within a couple of days).

Things to do: Nusa Island Resort caters to surfers and fishermen. We saw their boats going out around the islands in the early morning. If you want to go through them, they can probably arrange any activities you want. (their website has a few suggestions). There is a hike on the adjacent island to some WW2 wreckage. After getting specific directions from the resort, we did this on our own, paying a K5 fee to the person on the beach for access.

There is a “tour” possible down New Ireland’s east coast (see resort website for a description and their costs). With 4 boats traveling together, we may be able to arrange our own day trip by hiring a car.

Diving: After SE Asia, diving is shockingly expensive in Kavieng. There are two dive operators in the area—Scuba Ventures Kavieng in Kavieng town, and Lissenung Island Resort. Trying to get a “deal” we inquired of Scuba Ventures about a package for 5 of us diving with our own gear. They quoted us his “deal” rate of K350 (approx $100 USD) per 2-tank dive per person, and offered to knock a little off that rate if we commited to a 6-dive (or more) package, per person. We searched for a cheaper alternative and eventually found something more budget friendly. More about that in a later post.

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