Oh dear. We've got ourselves into a pickle. We had heard it was so easy to get the visa extension so we didn't give it much thought. When we were about to leave Bali, I decided to walk over to immigration in Benoa to ask about the visa extension and found out you can't just get that done at any immigration office. Only Class I (Kelas I) offices can do that. There was one in Denpasar so I jumped in the cab and got over there to find out that they wanted our passports for 7 days. Oh no. This was a bit of a calamity as we really needed to get moving if we were going to visit all the places we wanted to visit. There wasn't enough time to get to the next Class I office (Maumore, Flores) as you had to turn in the passport 7 days in advance of the expiration date of the visa. You can't count on weather or really anything when you cruise, so we decided we could not possibly make it and besides, Maumore was pretty far out of our way. So begrudgingly we turned in the passports and waited for the 7 days, only to find out it wasn't really 7 days, it was 8 as you had to go back on the 7th day, pay for the visa extension and then return the next day to pick it up. Buggers. When I went to pay, I asked as nicely as possible if they would please give me the passport that day as we were in a boat and had to get going. Believe it or not, it worked and I got them back that afternoon.
We had considered the idea of joining the Sail to Indonesia Back to Down Under Rally which started in Morotai in Maluka. We could sail there, join up and then sail with others along the coast of Iryan Jaya to Biak and then make for PNG, hoping that being with the rally would help us to get fuel. So we contacted the organizers, Raymond and Dewi and asked if that was possible. Dewi was in Bali on business and invited us over to the Bali Yacht Club in Serangan to talk about it, only when we got there, no Dewi. Instead we were in the hands of Isle Marine services, a nice couple Nathan and Ruth, and all of a sudden they were pulling out paperwork for a Temporary Import Permit. There is no longer any bond in Indonesia, but supposedly you still need to get this TIP. Up to now, no harbormaster even asked for it and Nongsa Point Marina didn't act as if they knew what we were talking about. Asking other cruisers about it, some did have it, some didn't. In any case we had to up with over $150 for this permit and after doing that, we discovered that to get the export permit, we had to cough up another $150. Also you have to list your exit point, which we thought would be Biak and supposedly you can't change that.
So the paperwork got rolling along, we were visited once by a customs officer who just sat in the cockpit letting Nathan do all the work and that was it for formalities. Ruth informed us that the TIP would be in the hands of Raymond when we meet up with him in Ternate in the Malukas. So would our new CAIT. And now we are month to month with visa extensions. You can get 4 extensions, but each one takes several days to acquire, a little bit of money, and you have to be at a Class I immigration office. There is one in Ternate, but we might not make it in time and our new CAIT will be with Raymond and I'm sure they will want to see that. Keeerap!!
Just ask us if we are sorry we signed up for this stupid rally. We would have been much better off on our own. And now we have decided to go up to Palau as we have a generator problem and need parts before we make our way out into the wilds. Also, PNG has had some violent robberies on cruising boats and has me a little unsettled as to whether or not we should cruise there. In any case, Palau is beautiful and a No. 1 destination for cruisers coming across the Pacific.
Never before while cruising have we had this issue. My rant is over.