Just over a week ago we were anchored inside the Pacific atoll of Tikehau. We were working our way very slowly East to the Gambier, some one thousand miles up wind. We were “trapped” in paradise with time on our hands, “busy going nowhere”.
And then Heidi checked the emails and there were two Australian visas there. Australian visas are currently a bit more common than rocking horse manure so we were “a little surprised”. We were even more surprised to see that they were multiple entry for a total of two years.
No problem. Change the plan. Stop sailing East. Start sailing West while getting things organised.
- Sail the 200 miles to the nearest Gendarme post to clear out.
- Inform the Polynesian marine department (DPAM) we were leaving.
- Write to the insurance to change sailing area and covered value.
- Get our spare parts on the way from the UK to Tahiti to us.
- Change the Garmin tracker to an unlimited package.
- Seal the leaky windows, jammer and water tank.
- Tell the Australian Border Force we are coming.
- Send the form the DPAM asked for.
- fix the first reef which broke on the way to Huahine.
- Buy gas & food to last until November.
- Fill out and send the Queensland arrival form.
- Telephone with DPAM and send the form again with the arrival place deleted.
- Book a marina berth in Brisbane.
- Strip and service the winches.
- Email with DPAM and send the form again with a different date.
- Pick up our spare parts at the airport.
- Report to the Gendarmes and clear out of the country and find them using the first DPAM form. Also discover that DPAM had forbidden us to leave on Sunday.
- Download and upgrade all the charts and then plan a route.
- Celebrate my 58th birthday!
(and if, after reading all that, you think the
idiots officials at DPAM annoyed me a little – you are correct)
But here we are a week later and plan on leaving for the 3500 miles to Brisbane on Monday. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that sailing is predictable.