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Clearing into Cairns, Australia – 2010 Update

By Val Ellis last modified Dec 10, 2010 12:28 PM

Published: 2010-12-10 12:28:59
Countries: Australia

We had read the warnings about Australian customs and quarantine clearance, and were prepared for the worst: all foods confiscated; a camera inspection of our bottom paint; microscopes on our bilges and anchor lockers; a need to list every port and harbor we intended to visit;surly officers.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. We had, per regulations, provided advance notice of our arrival from Vanuatu, as well as arranged for visas. We arrived a day early. We pulled alongside Marlin Marina at 1130, and were greeted courteously by both customs (who also handle immigration) and health officers, Each was courteous, business-like, and well-prepared. We had hauled our boat in Fiji, and a simple letter from the marina sufficed; apparently they no longer use underwater cameras to check the pain, as no one quite knew what to do with the resulting footage.

They inspected our foodstuffs, and let us keep everything - spices, canned foods, originally-wrapped rices and pastas. They inspected the weavings we had received in Vanuatu, and let us keep those without further ado.

The cost of the health inspection was a healthy $330 AUS ... customs cleared us in and merely asked that we let them know when we were headed for Darwin; coastal cruising was fine.

They were on and gone within an hour, returning only to take some pictures; apparently the new concern is termites -- although as a fiberglass cat with minimal interior cabinetry, we were considered a very low risk.

So: don't go crazy purging your foodstuffs; keep a clean boat (I think our efforts to appear shipshape and tidy reassured them); and be polite -- let them know you're coming; get a visa; and enjoy the land down under!

Jon Glaudemans
s/v ile de Grace