Papua, Sorong: Clearing into Indonesia here

SV Segue succesfully cleared into Indonesia here using the new on-line system in June 2016.

Published 7 years ago, updated 4 years ago

I’m HAPPY to report that the new clear in process has filtered out into the hinterlands of Indonesia.

We entered Indonesia in the Port of Sorong (we came down from Koror, Palau).

We DID do the online check-in via the new website before we left Palau, but we did take our time getting to Sorong with stops into Helen’s Reef and we did dawdle around Raja Ampat before we made it into Sorong.  By the time we got there, the online paperwork had, apparently, expired.  This was NO problem.  Customs set me up at a workstation in their office and I refilled out the web-based forms.

It IS worth noting that the site for doing the TIP ( now asks you to click on the “Yachters” page, and it brings you back to the first website (yachters-Indonesia).  There is NO longer a SEPARATE set of forms for the TIP and only the one website needs to be accessed.  VERY cool!

This was the FIRST country we checked into, where officials wanted to see our international vaccination cards.

A Summary of the Check-in steps in Sorong


First, go to Quarantine to request Free Pratique.  The office is located behind the Swiss Bellhotel.  This office doesn’t quite understand yachts.  After paying around 90,000 rupiahs we were given a SPECTACULAR collection of health documents — for the boat, for us, as well as Free Pratique.  I DON’T THINK you need all this stuff, but it is an impressive selection of docs none the less!  Make SURE you bring your vaccination records!


After Quarantine, go to Customs.  Bring the paperwork from Quarantine.  You’ll also need the usual — previous port clearance, passports, ships papers, crew list, etc.  You do NOT need to bring multiple copies as this office has gone TOTALLY paperless and they will scan everything they need!  VERY VERY COOL!


Next is Immigration.  We showed up there at around 2:00m pm on a Friday.  It was absolutely DESERTED!  We did a few “hallooos” and a couple of immigration officers emerged and took care of stamping us into Indonesia inside of a few short minutes.

NOTE about Visa on Arrival: 

This is NOT NOT NOT possible in Sorong.  Due to the fact that we came to Indonesia from Palau, which has NO Indonesian Embassy, we entered on a Visa Exemption.  This is ONLY valid for 30 days.  It CANNOT be converted into any other form of VISA.  So, we’re heading tomorrow for Dilli in East Timor to exit Indonesia and obtain a proper VISA before re-entering!


The only office we haven’t visited is BioSecurity.  The Customs officer in Sorong called them for us and they didn’t seem to have any interest at all in seeing us (even though we have a declared dog onboard…..) Curious…

Harbour Master?

We have yet to visit any harbour masters as there is no longer any cruising booklet to get stamped.  No one seems to really be concerned about this anymore.  If we run into problems because of this, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Sorong Harbour

A note about Sorong Harbour.  This has had some very bad press among the sailing community around here.  Frankly, we were quite nervous.  At least my partner was…

We had been given a tip that there was a lovely chap named “John” who lives on the waterfront on “Doom Island”.  Yes, that really is the name!  Anyway, we anchored in front of John’s House at  00 52.9200 S / 131 14.2080 E on the sand in about 20 meters.  The boat will do 180s when the tide changes and we had NO problems at all with either fouled anchors or dragging. I HIGHLY recommend John.   His number is +62 821-8388-8844. His kids and family will take care of your dinghy for you while you explore ashore. He was able to organize 400 litres of diesel (DELIVERED to our boat) at 7,000 rupiahs per litre. He has a very nice clean minivan and is happy to help with running around in Sorong. We had daily visits from tons of GREAT kids.


Unlike some of the reports we heard about Sorong, we had a GREAT time, love the funky chaos of the place and very much appreciated some fairly decent shopping for “Western” foods at the two good grocery stores and LOVED the “wet” market.  Truly a fun place!

Onto Ambon

Our experience here has been just as awesome.  We first anchored off off Anahusu Beach where the Darwin-Ambon Rally finishes.  This is very DEFINITELY a “meh” anchorage.  It’s on a shelf of coral very close to shore.  The holding is, at best, marginal — but really non-existent.  We managed to find a patch in about 20 meters, but it was MUCH deeper in places.  It’s also very far from town.  It’s a nice little chill spot, but I really can’t recommend it.

We moved to the inner harbour the next day.  WAY WAY into the inner harbour.  We’re anchored in lovely firm mud in about 15 meters directly in front of the Marine Police dock and station (03 38.3811 S / 128 14.3379 E).  The Marine Police have been TOTALLY ok with us using their dock and, of course, the security couldn’t be better.  My partner is sleeping very soundly at night.  The best part?  We were able to buy diesel directly from the Police from their stock and paid 6,000 rupiahs.  They helped hump the fuel to Segue and were truly awesome!  The best deal we’ve had on fuel in YEARS!!!!

Checking Out of Indonesia

We just finished the check-out process.  The only offices we needed to visit were Customs and Immigration.  We plan to stop by the Banda Islands for a few days on our way to Dilli in East Timor and this was NO problem with either of these offices.

A note about Banda Islands.  This is NOT a port of entry.  There is no Immigration, and Customs only goes there for cruise ships and whatnot.

In Summary:

The paperwork nightmares of past years are OVER in Indonesia.  The ONLY cost we had was for the Quarantine paperwork — and I suspect we didn’t communicate correctly that we really only needed Free Pratique from them.  We DO have a great collection of impressive healthy paperwork for the next port should anyone care!

We came to Indo from Palau.  What a REFRESHING change.  We truly felt that Palau was one HUGE money grab.  Every single official needed money.  Money to the dock guy that grabs your lines.  Money to Customs.  Money to Immigration.  Money to BioSecurity.  Money just to anchor in the port.  Money to go cruising…  Every single government official had their hands out for money. Heck — it’s even $50 bucks a head to LEAVE Palau — some “Green Tax”….  All told it cost us THOUSANDS of dollars to be in Palau for three months.

Contrast that with Indonesia.  The customs guy came to the boat on Saturday on his day off so we could finish the paperwork and go cruising in Raja Ampat.  No money changed hands at ANY TIME WITH ANY OFFICIAL.  We LOVE IT HERE!!!!!!!!

Colin Dykstra & Mercedes Villar

s/v Segue

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  1. December 11, 2019 at 10:43 AM
    henrietta says:

    To add to the notes for Helena Marina, Sorong. It is a calm secure place to moor but does not have normal marina facilities, and mooring is Med style with anchor from bow and stern lines to shore. Dinghy needed to go ashore.
    There is a large swimming pool nearby, a bit murky and run down but wonderful, and there are showers, and a restaurant.
    The approach is from the west to entrance waypoint at 00deg 50.32’S 131deg 14.38’E. The port and starboard marks are not easy to spot and are on the land either side of entrance.

    We cleared out at Sorong. Friendly helpful staff but it took most of the day. Customs officers did visit the boat. Quarantine required an international polio vaccination certificate, but as we didn’t have them, they did it there and then (drops on the tongue) for nominal cost.

    I’d restate that Warwick was very helpful, a fount of local knowledge, with extensive engineering skills. He is the local OCC Port Officer too.

  2. July 8, 2016 at 1:21 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    SV Segue report: Yep. AIS is a requirement and they do want to know the MMSI associated with the unit.

  3. June 30, 2016 at 1:21 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Thanks for the report – very nice to hear. How about the AIS requirement, is it enforced?