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Clearance, Fishing Boats and Fuel

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 27, 2012 01:41 PM

Published: 2012-03-27 13:41:17
Countries: Indonesia

The major aim of this note is to update the information that we found available on line before doing our trip and show, in particular, that paperwork is very simple and can be easily done "oneself"; it also offers the opportunity to provide the cruising community with some maybe valuable information.
Claude and Jeanne
SY "Ailes et Iles"
[email protected]

Clearance – Advance Paperwork

I contacted several agents some months in advance of our visit regarding clearance paperwork, and it seems all of them work more or less together.

These were: "Rachel" ([email protected]), "Ruth" ([email protected]) and "Lytha" ([email protected]). Even though all were very helpful, I chose Lytha because she was the one most often cited on line and because she was one of the two agents mentioned by the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin.

The 2 documents that are needed for cruising Indonesia are the "CAIT" and a "Sponsoring Letter" that Lytha e-mailed me exactly on schedule (20 days after having received the boat's documents and passports that I e-mailed her).

More precisely:
-Lytha e-mailed after about two weeks uncompleted documents (not signed yet by the Ministry of Transportation) that were sufficient for us to apply for 2-month tourist-visas at the Consulate where they are processed in a couple of days.
-She thus e-mailed us the completed documents more or less at the time we got our visas.
-Having informed her that we intended to sail from Timor to Batam and visit as many islands as possible, she specified by herself all islands in between.

Clearing into Indonesia

We entered Indonesia in early October (2010) and chose to do it in Kupang because:
i) it is the closest port of entry from Darwin, and
ii) paperwork there can be taken in charge by "Napa" ([email protected]) who works with Lytha and whom I also contacted several months in advance. Napa is very kind and efficient, even though he has relatively limited facilities and can be reached more easily by phone. He got the huge amount of stamps and signatures required, working full time for nearly one day, provided us with the amount of fuel I asked for directly on the beach and at a relatively low rate, gave us the original CAIT that was mailed to him by Lytha and he was very helpful during all our stay in Indonesia.

We paid less than 300 Australian dollars to both Lytha and Napa (more precisely 4.300 000 Rp in total), which seems to us a very reasonable price considering the "ease" (at least for us!) of the procedure and the additional services we got thanks to the specific links we had established in such a way.

Two additional points concerning Indonesian paperwork:

  • We wanted to spend more than the two months permitted by our tourist-visas so had to get a visa extension. This can only be done in a limited number of places and for only one month more. Contrary to what the Consulate in Darwin told us, renewing the visas was not an easy task. We tried doing it ourselves in Jakarta, following advice from Batavia Marina, but rapidly gave up. The problem was solved thanks to a friend of Lytha, but this does not seem to be an official procedure. We can only recommend contacting Lytha in advance. She can also easily renew your CAIT and mail you the original where you want.
  • Clearing out of Indonesia was easily done by the Nongsa Marina personnel for a relatively low fee.

Goods & Services

We found it rather surprising how much prices varied for exactly the same goods. For example, in 2 different shops just a few 100 metres apart, the same bottle of water was being sold for 3,000 Rp in one place and 10,000 Rp in the other!

Another surprising fact was that, when anchored in front of villages where people still get water from wells, we were able to have high-speed Internet access thanks to a 3-G modem key.

Gas bottles cannot apparently be refilled if not Indonesian, while this can be easily done in Malaysia.

Fishing Boats

We always have had very friendly relations with fishermen and they are for sure exceptional sailors who love their boats (just seeing the variety and beauty of the Indonesian fishing boats is worth the trip!), however they did at times appear to be a little "too" numerous for our liking. Even though all the boats were lit – often very originally with blue flashing lights etc. most of their fishing gear (nets - either drifting offshore or fixed along the coast - and bait trappings) was not, which was problematic especially when motoring.

In some places we also found a lot of floating debris, in particular near Kupang and Jakarta, and floating wood, in particular between Bangka and Singkep islands, due to the rivers flowing out from Sumatra.

Finding Fuel

Maybe due to the season and generally light winds, we motored quite a lot, especially before Jakarta, as compared to in Australia in particular.

The best place (in terms of convenience, price and quality of the service) for refuelling was for sure in Kupang with the help of Napa.

Then we wanted to refuel in Aer/Air Island (in the north-west of Lombok) but had to go from there to Kecinan Bay (~2 nm to the south-west) and ask the help of "Abdul". Even though his fees were relatively low, we had to pay him in advance and the 5 jerry cans we gave him to fill came back only partially full. We insisted he fill them up completely from one of his own fuel cans, which was a very unpleasant situation.

We had a much more pleasant experience in Bawean Island, even though none of the fishermen on the beach in the south spoke any English; but if you ask for "Dirman", another kind fisherman, you will be transported back and forth with your cans on motorbikes along tracks through rice fields and get fuel at a very reasonable price.

In Jakarta the marina staff will brief you on the different types of fuel they can provide (i.e. clear vs. brown). However it might be cheaper to talk directly with those working in the surrounding area.

On arrival at Nongsa Marina, Batam Island, we were given a very uncomfortable berth with the wind conditions we had at the time – 20+ knots from the East in late December 2011. There were plenty of berths available on the other side of the pontoon, so the next day we asked to be moved. As we did so, we took the opportunity to refuel and noticed that the fuel was very foamy. One month later when opening one of our cans, I noticed that the fuel was in fact relatively clear but has left a lot of black deposits in the bottom of the can, by far the dirtiest fuel we have ever bought.