Cruising the South Pacific with Pets on board - hassle in Fiji
We bought a dog, a Schnauzer Puppy, in Mexico before we headed to French Polynesia. We know from our last crossing, that a Dog on board is the very best security against theft and robbery you can have.
As a puppy he learned to do his business on the foredeck and he is never let down below (inside the boat).
All the Countries en-route have strict rules. It is forbidden to take the pet ashore, which we respect when close to villages/cities, but when we are anchored in remote areas, we take him for a run on the beach. Clearing into a country it was just acknowledged that we have a dog onboard.
It was no problem in American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga, but this time Suva in Fiji was different. The Biosecurity came on board to inspect our food etc. and when he saw the dog, other papers came on the table. We had to pay a bond of 1.500 Fiji dollars (833 USD) for having a dog onboard, not taken ashore. The bond is to be paid in cash at the Biosecurity Office in Suva, together with the Biosecurity inspection fee 80 Fiji dollars, (44 USD). If the Pet is caught ashore, you lose your bond. Leaving the Country, you have to apply for the refund a week ahead of departure. It took 6 working days to get the bond in Latoka office, paid in cash the last day, so your loss is the exchange rate and fee.
Had we known we were going to have to deal with all this hassle together with the clearance trouble and fee, we would have dropped Fiji.
No problems in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG.