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Old 19-10-2010, 13:16   #1
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Countries that Make Us Welcome

Reading the individual blogs of Blue Water Rally boats currently trying to gain clearance in Indonesia, I think, why bother?

On landfall at Kupang the local customs officers have demanded that most of the fleet deposit half the value of their boat as a bond so they don't "try to sell the boat while in Indonesia". This has not been required of some of the less valuable boats in the fleet. Customs promise to give it back when they leave. Who would trust these guys since they are making up thier own rules to suit themselves anyway? It seems like financial piracy and the pirates have government uniforms.

Mark J has has stared a threat about the safest countries to visit. How about some comments on what coutries make us welcome and which ones just want to rip us off.

Any comments ?

Greg
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Old 19-10-2010, 23:46   #2
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Reading the individual blogs of Blue Water Rally boats currently trying to gain clearance in Indonesia, I think, why bother?
I wouldn't.

Every year a fleet of westerners with (comparatively) big bank accounts pass through Indonesia from Australia. It's a bit like the salmon runs of North America or the sardine run of South Africa. The predators know they are coming and there is a feeding frenzy for a short but very lucrative period. Every year the predators learn some new trick that enables them to catch more of the bounty.

For most, Indonesia is irritatingly placed between one nice cruising area (Australia) and another (all of SE Asia bar Indonesia) and the gauntlet must be run.
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Old 20-10-2010, 02:39   #3
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I have heard of the same bond before so am thinking there might be some legitimate regs behind their demands? Still, I thought it was more like having to pay the import duty upfront as bond, which might still be a scam?

It might be worth messaging Surfmachine who has spent best part of the last year over there? Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: surfmachine
For other advice, it is also interesting to look at his thread about Sumatra.

Congratulations for making it there from Lake Macquarie; good inspiration to get my boat on the move from Toronto!
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Old 20-10-2010, 02:49   #4
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This might help

Noonsite: Indonesia Bond update
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Old 20-10-2010, 03:30   #5
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. what coutries make us welcome and which ones just want to rip us off.


Greg
EU Europe makes welcome Not a long visa (3 months for non EU people) but I have found no problem in the Canaries after telling them I need a few extra days before its safe to cross the atlantic.

St Martin in the Caribbean (both sides) was wonderful - made for cruisers.

Malaysia and Thailand were both good for entry requirements. Thailand is very torusity and everyone wants your money - Customs want extra money for 'overtime' on weekends... but their weekends are normally 7 days per week.

Generally, Iv'e found the more civilised the country the better it is. There may be high charges in some (like Australia) but they are sheduled charges, not graft going into their pockets.

Dishonesty in defrauding tousists (all the Muslim countries I've been to except Malaysia) by both officials, agents, businesses and locals really disgusts me.

Western Europe has been the biggest, most wonderful surprise for me. It much cheaper than I expected, there is wonderful sights to see and from someone DownUnder its really exotic!

To EU I say Hasta la vista, baby - I'll be back!

for the next 5 years it will only be the countires that want cruisers and don't try to rip me off
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Old 20-10-2010, 04:30   #6
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Checking into Guatemala Livingston was probably the easiest and friendliness place on my trip last year to the western Caribbean. All the officials come out to your boat and check everything and then you can either hire the local agent to do the rest of the paperwork onshore or do it yourself. No pressure.

I have mixed feeling about Belize. We came into San Pedro on a Sunday and were told by nearby boats we couldn't check in until Monday so we stayed onboard until the next morning. When we checked in on Monday they said we could have been fined for not checking in Sunday, but that we had 24 hours and had just made it. But all in all they were OK and honest. Checking out up the river at Placencia was a big ripoff. They made me pay $100 for some donantion to local orphans, probably their kids.

BTW, be very honest when you check in Belize when you report the total amount of booze you have on board. They come out to check and if you don't tell the exact amount they will confisicate it all and fine you.

In Isla Mujeres Mexico it wasn't too bad but if you don't use an agent the port captain may give you a hard time. Also be sure you get a Tourist visa not a transit one or after 1 month you will have to leave or go through a big hassle trying to get a proper visa.

Cuba isn't so bad. All the officials come onboard with their sniffer dogs. Takes a few hours but they are all friendly. Just be careful when the Guardia (coast guard) check your boat. Watch them carefully as some can be a little light fingered. Don't leave things like watches, rings, etc. laying around or sitting in a drawer or they may disappear. It helps to offer them a drink like coke or even a shot of rum. When you check out the port captain may ask for a "donation" as much as 10% of your bill. If he has helped you a few bucks doesn't hurt.
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Old 20-10-2010, 04:57   #7
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I found it quite ironic that yacht agents said it was not a problem as long as you worked thru an agent or paid to join a controlled rally.

Then another super yacht agency said we have our own secret recipe to solve the problem and that the other agencies quite often are the ones setting the inflated price to put out the imaginary fire.

Bottom line… boycott Indonesia until they get their act together and stop allowing these middlemen parasites to operate.
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Old 20-10-2010, 07:02   #8
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Western Europe has been the biggest, most wonderful surprise for me. It much cheaper than I expected, there is wonderful sights to see and from someone DownUnder its really exotic!

To EU I say Hasta la vista, baby - I'll be back!
Next time aim for Northern Europe Way more civilised and freindly - with history coming out of our ears..........ironically mostly history about how we like to kill each other on an industrial scale . Some things do need to be seen to be appreciated.......

But bring an Umbrella
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Old 20-10-2010, 07:06   #9
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Malaysia and Thailand were both good for entry requirements. Thailand is very torusity and everyone wants your money - Customs want extra money for 'overtime' on weekends... but their weekends are normally 7 days per week.
I only tend to hear good things about Malaysia (unless you mix up in Politics, religion or cross badly in business - all of which quite avoidable) - regret not spending a bit more time exploring in years passed, but back in the day civilised = kinda dull But nowadays looking for different things. Must get off me backside and go have a looksee.........
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Old 20-10-2010, 07:13   #10
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I think that the Dutch side of St Maarten has tightened up their prices and requirements a whole lot more over the past 5 years. They seem quite happy to milk the yachties more each year. Not sure when last you were there MarkJ. I believe the French side is still a pleasaure without an attitude when checking in.
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Old 20-10-2010, 07:28   #11
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I spent a couple of months in Malaysia a few years ago. It was great for the most part. What little coruption was small and easily managable. Most of the people were nice Especially in the chinese areas. I did have a tense moment in the "street market" when the police raided, but was able to duck into a coffee shop and the shop owner helped to hide my purchases until they passed. (I found out after spending several hours buying that is was all patiently illegal and often raided by police trying to shut it down. But the shop owners had implant in the police station that gave advance warning of a raids by cell phone). But overall great time and mostly safe even my jungle excursion. It was annoying can't buy any pork, even the bacon burger in McD's had fake bacon. The movies were interupted every 1/2 hour for prayer time, (muslum). The chinese, (buddist), and the malay(muslum) don't get along 100%. But the muslum wern't as radical as middle east, several actually apologised to me for extreme actions and freely talked about their opinions. Overall a nice country and one of few I would consider living in long term.
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Old 20-10-2010, 14:51   #12
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Congratulations for making it there from Lake Macquarie; good inspiration to get my boat on the move from Toronto!
I haven't made it there from Lake Macquarie. I was commenting on the Blue Water Rally boats experience. I'm writing this from the other side of the lake as I'm about to go to work. When the new boat is finished in the new year it might be a different story.

Greg
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Old 20-10-2010, 15:02   #13
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Now, being a Canadian, I have to say the USA definitelly makes (if not tops) the friendliest place list.
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Old 20-10-2010, 15:09   #14
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Now, being a Canadian, I have to say the USA definitelly makes (if not tops) the friendliest place list.

I never expected this one! Being US want to cruise to get away for the others. Now I'm just scared, but that makes a true US of Aer.
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Old 20-10-2010, 15:14   #15
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Who do you want to get away from, Don Lucas? Other sailors, or other Americans? Because no matter where you go, you will find both. Even Cuba.
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