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Clearing out of Australia from Thursday Island

By SY Yindee Plus — last modified Oct 09, 2014 12:51 PM

Published: 2014-10-05 23:00:00
Countries: Australia

 

Thursday Island July 2014

There’s not much info from other boats’ blogs on clearing out of Australia from Thursday Island. So here are our impressions of the place.

This is billed as the strongest trade wind location in the world, and it probably is, but by the time you've got this far up the Queensland coast you'll be well used to it.

Anchorage

During the Aussie winter, the best protection is in the lee of Horn Island, west of the wharfs. This is a large and comfortable anchorage with depths of 10m over mud. Our charts showed a current of up to 4 knots running through but we only saw about 2.5 knots at springs. It’s important to get the tides right for entry through Flinders passage though as the current is much stronger there and it’s shallow over the shoals. Make sure you know how the buoyage works beforehand as it’s quite confusing at first sight on the chart.

This was the first place up the Queensland coast that we actually saw crocs; two of them sunbathing on the mud by the side of the anchorage.

Services Ashore

You can tie a dinghy to the back of the ferry wharf. No security concerns while we were there.

Potable water is available from a tap at the top of the wharf (attach your own hose).

Horn Island has a small supermarket (with cafe and post office), a fuel station and pub with beer garden. For all other amenities you need to take the ferry to Thursday Island.

In 2014 the ferry cost either $6 or $7 one way depending on the operator. Discounts are available for families. Timetables are available on the ferries but they basically run about once an hour, less often on Sundays. The Rebel ferry wharf is not in the town centre on TI but they run a free bus to and from the shops and will drop / collect you wherever you need: useful if you are carrying lots of shopping or laundry.

Laundry at Sea-Hop; coin-op. 8 washers, 4 dryers. Shop will give change. Not open Sundays.

Propane filling is available, although expensive, at Seahop. They fill on Sunday mornings too.

Diesel and petrol are available by jerry jugs from Horn Island and TI. You can make arrangements to tie up at the wharf too.

Wifi is not available at TI / Horn Island but there is a good Telstra cellphone signal in the anchorage.

Thursday Island / Horn Island has all the basic things you might need but at massively high prices. For example, in Cairns we bought dried milk in 1kg bags for $5.85. Here it was $13.80! Best to just top up, not stock up. Several supermarkets including a fairly large, air conditioned one at the far end of town; pass the hardware store, then keep walking.

We didn't do any tourist stuff on TI but would have liked to stay longer to explore. It had a great atmosphere and we felt welcome.

Formalities

Customs on TI are friendly and helpful, like all the islanders. You can reclaim on the Tourist Refund Scheme; they pay it onto a credit card or give you a money order you can cash at the post office. You just need to take the actual item (or a photo if it’s not portable) and a tax invoice with your name on it.

No need to give customs advance notice for clearance and you get 24 hours to leave the country after you’ve cleared. Note that if you decide not to leave the country but go back to the Aussie mainland from TI, your boat will be subject to biosecurity regulations i.e. you may have all your fresh food taken off you. This does not apply to boats clearing out and leaving Australia.

Departure for Indonesia

When leaving to go to Indonesia, make sure you get the tides right for the exit to the Torres Strait (ask the local ferry drivers). They really rip through there. We measured 8 knots of current at one point through the Normanby Passage...it was a very quick exit!

Note that on the rhumb line to Saumlaki (Indonesia), just outside of Australian waters, there are a lot of Asian factory ships with long fishing nets. Some of the boats in our group got tangled in them and had to cut themselves free.

Susan Bright
SY Yindee Plus
http://www.yindeeplus.net/

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