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Old 17-05-2015, 05:29   #31
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

Wellington,

Yes I believe that NSW requires additional insurance as well.

Wrong,

We purchased the boat in Brunei and after 5 years in SEA we had a choice to make. Bottom of Africa, Red Sea and the Med or Downwind sailing to Australia over the winter months. It was a perfect sail through Indonesia and we never hit the ***** until the big easterlies at the bottom of the Timor Sea approaching Darwin. (we were a couple of weeks late due to delays with Australian Immigration or we would have had favourable winds all the way)

After Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific we intend to continue the trip eastward to the America's if we are not too old by then.

Wellington,

You can leave the boat in Australia for the length of your sailing permit (max 6 months) and can extend your sailing permit up to the length of the captain's visa. Why they will not give you a permit for the entire length of the visa all at once I am not sure.

Oh by the way, we asked the quarantine officers what the cost of fumigation was just out of curiosity and their response was they thought it was 10-15k depending on the size of the boat. They only require this if there is strong evidence of Termites (sniffer dog).

Don't hold your breath waiting for the AC in Suva to replay. Best to talk to the appropriate centre for your citizenship as these are the people you will end up dealing with anyway. If it is in fact the centre for the America's you might have the most luck as we found this group the most helpful and they actually answer the phone!!!!!
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Old 17-05-2015, 16:14   #32
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

Quote:
Posted by undercutter, today 04:29

Wrong,

We purchased the boat in Brunei and after 5 years in SEA we had a choice to make. Bottom of Africa, Red Sea and the Med or Downwind sailing to Australia over the winter months. It was a perfect sail through Indonesia and we never hit the ***** until the big easterlies at the bottom of the Timor Sea approaching Darwin. (we were a couple of weeks late due to delays with Australian Immigration or we would have had favourable winds all the way)

After Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific we intend to continue the trip eastward to the America's if we are not too old by then.
Faced with your choices, the worst part of taking the route around South Africa is I'd be faced with having to do the Panama Canal to access the South Pacific.

I guess for me the central question would be the boat's purpose after the voyaging is through. If I'd sold the whole lot, house and all with plans to live aboard into the indefinite future, then going 'the wrong way' may make at least a smidgen of sense... But, if my plan in buying the boat was a path to discovery and adventure with no plan to live aboard in the future I'd take the South African route, sell the boat in New Zealand or Australia after doing the Caribbean, Canal and South Pacific then fly home. Gee, I'd prefer doing that to going the wrong way even if I planned to live aboard indefinitely. Then, once home I'd buy a good live aboard boat.

From Darwin to the Queensland area the sail can be a drag. But, since you're already in Darwin do the rest of Australia. It'll give you more of a taste of what's in store for you if you continue going the wrong way. Then you can fetch Darwin as your departure point toward South Africa.
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Old 18-05-2015, 01:25   #33
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Faced with your choices, the worst part of taking the route around South Africa is I'd be faced with having to do the Panama Canal to access the South Pacific.

I guess for me the central question would be the boat's purpose after the voyaging is through. If I'd sold the whole lot, house and all with plans to live aboard into the indefinite future, then going 'the wrong way' may make at least a smidgen of sense... But, if my plan in buying the boat was a path to discovery and adventure with no plan to live aboard in the future I'd take the South African route, sell the boat in New Zealand or Australia after doing the Caribbean, Canal and South Pacific then fly home. Gee, I'd prefer doing that to going the wrong way even if I planned to live aboard indefinitely. Then, once home I'd buy a good live aboard boat.

From Darwin to the Queensland area the sail can be a drag. But, since you're already in Darwin do the rest of Australia. It'll give you more of a taste of what's in store for you if you continue going the wrong way. Then you can fetch Darwin as your departure point toward South Africa.
Talking to some of the locals anchored out in Fannie Bay I am told that the best time to go South down the Queensland coast is December-March/April.
Predominantly winds from the North with the onset of the rainy season. When I asked about Tropical storms told that weather forcasting is so good now that many people move their boats up and down the coast to avoid any issues and that there are lots of Hurricane holes to hide in. Some even got their i pods out and identified some of the better locations. Looks like wonderful sailing along the east coast of Australia and I can tell you that the charting is excellent compared to where we just spent the last 5 years.

I appreciate all the feedback that I can get but basically we would like to spend the next couple of years in Australia and New Zealand prior to making the next decisions on where to next.

No we haven't sold everything and you wouldn't want to sell a boat in that part of the world right now as you would take a bath. Prices are in the toilet from what I can see and it is even worse up North in Singapore, Thailand, etc. All those boats who won't make the Red Sea trip nor go south around the cape of good hope.

Maybe should consider starting a trend and taking some of these boats the wrong way back to the US to sell. Lot's of good deals over there.
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Old 19-05-2015, 20:50   #34
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

I thought I would give an update, since things have evolved on our side concerning Australian visas (which was the main reason the OP was wondering if they should stop in Fiji or not) and our experience was not as bad as some mentioned.

Last week-end, we went through the whole application process for both of us. This meant filling in the application forms for a Visitor (600) visa. That application is 18 pages long and it does take a bit of time, especially filling out all the countries you have been to in the last 5 years, and the dates of your stay there. Obviously for cruisers this can make for a fair amount of data entry. But we managed to get through it all.

Two important side notes. First, on one of the first pages, there was a code to group the application requests. That is : the first applicant creates the code, and then the other applicants type in the same code so that their applications are considered together. Indeed, later on, our files were processed by the same officer. Second, it is during this process that it is mentioned that we may have to go through a physical interview with an Australian official, and we had to select the most convenient place. As previously mentioned in this thread, we selected Nouméa as this was in the available options. Suva was NOT the only center in the South Pacific.

You then have to pay, which in our case amounted to AUD 130 per person, payable by credit card, which was easily done.

Then comes another long bit : we then had to provide supporting documents, and quite a long list was given. In fact, only a part of these applied to our case, and the applicant must decide which are relevant. Since we have digital copies of most of our documents, this was easy, but uploading just took a bit long because our Internet connection was not fast. At this stage, not only did we provide copies of our bank statements, passports, boat registration, etc., but we also made up two documents which we presented somewhat as a letter. First, an explanation of our financial means and how we intended to support ourselves, stating that while our present health insurance did not cover our trip in Australia, we were planning on taking up such an insurance policy shortly before getting there (we had answered 'no' when asked in the application if our health insurance had already been arranged, and we felt a little more explanation was necessary there). Second, another document describing our planned itinerary in Australia, including significant dates and seasonal constraints, explaining we did not want to be forced into the wrong area in the middle cyclone season. All of this was uploaded, and yes it's true that it took us nearly a whole day to go through the whole thing.

That was the most painful part of the process, though. When having a look at the application status, there was a button "Get Health Details", which was not really clear, but it looked as though a medical exam was necessary, mainly because of a chest X-ray, so we started having a look at the process. You have to go through another application on their website, which enables you to produce a "HAP ID", that is an ID number for you to be recognized in their system, as well as print out a cover letter for the physician. I contacted the approved physicians in Nouméa, asking for the cost of the exams. It looked like the X-ray was about XPF 8000 (about AUD 100), and the medical visit was about the same, so about AUD 200 total. If a blood and urine analysis was necessary, it looked like the bill would climb to a maximum of AUD 400 per person, just to give an idea, but it would most likely be half that for most cruisers.

In fact all this last part was for nothing, and thank God we hadn't started anything serious yet, because within 3 business days, we actually got a message each from the Australian immigration: our 12-month multiple entry visas were granted ! So for us this is great, and I wanted to share this experience with others wondering about this same process. I'm not sure why an X-ray was not necessary for us. Maybe it's due to the fact we have spent the last 30 months in New Zealand and New Caledonia alone, or some other reason which might have put us in the "less at risk" category. Anyways, the bottom line is we got our visas within 3 days, without going through either a medical exam or a physical interview, while submitting only digital documents (no certified copies at all), and for a cost of AUD 130 per person. So not really a nightmare after all.
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Old 20-05-2015, 02:04   #35
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

Thanks Belle-Isle for your feedback, it's very useful. It would be good to know if, having spent the last 20 months in French Polynesia and not New Zealand, we would have to go through x-rays, blood and urine tests, etc. But, as Undercutter stressed, this system is arbitrary, it seems that there is no way to make a rational decision based on advance knowledge of costs and procedures... We are 5, it could cost us 5 x$400 on top of 5 x $130 just to apply... with no guarantee that we would get this "600".
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Old 26-06-2015, 05:13   #36
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

As an Aussie can I say firstly sorry......I do wish our country would make things a little simpler and cheaper for cruisers.

On the school situation if I recall correctly when SV Totem were here they found that the rules were different in Queensland and they were able to put the kids into school in Brisbane at no cost versus the high cost of Sydney. Perhaps PM them and confirm?
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:51   #37
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

This is, for us, a very interesting thread as we plan/hope/wish to spend cyclone season in Oz. We are currently aboard and enjoying Huahine and last night with some trepidation I went onto the Australian Dept of Immigration and Border Protection website.

I filled in the 18-page application online. Tedious but not too onerous. They did ask if I had any explosives training and aside from some firecrackers going wrong in the Boy Scouts I could thankfully answer in the negative.

The form also asked where I would like to meet an Australian Immigration officer face to face and thoughtfully provided dozens of locations. We picked Apia.

I paid my 130 bucks Aussie (for myself and my family of four), by Visa card online and it was done.

So, first impressions are good. I realize this is but the beginning of the process and I will update the thread when we hear more.

Cheers.

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Old 03-07-2015, 11:20   #38
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

One variable worth consideration is Noumea, New Caledonia's immigration department has it's head office in Fiiji. So, the process may or may not be more involved were you obtaining your visa elsewhere.

I was required to obtain Australian health insurance in Noumea only to learn later on it was not a requirement. Only encouraged...
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Old 13-08-2015, 20:40   #39
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

Fiji, although a bit muddled in their processes, is not that difficult to get sorted into. Nor was it that expensive.

We arrived here in June of this year, the longest part of the clearing in process was waiting for the officials to show up. We called them when we arrived at 0800, they finally got to the boat around 1500. We then had to go in the next day collecting stamps and paying for a few things as we had no $FJD on the boat when we arrived.

So its a fairly ridiculous process compared to some as it isn't "one stop shopping" and you have to run around a bit. But its not hard or expensive. I do rate it the "worst" of the countries we've cleared into because of the inefficiency, but Panama would have taken that Gold Medal if we hadn't paid an agent and we did not need one here.

Outside of that? The country is lovely and cheap to be in. I highly recommend stopping.

In my blog entry, although it DID take two days elapsed to complete part of that was waiting on the boat. And I didn't start until after lunch on the second day, and I didn't go in the most efficient order. You have to make several stops and visits, but a couple are in the same complex if you get your other ducks in a row first ou can shorten it.

You don't have to dump out of guzzle your booze BTW. You have to options if you exceed the limits. 1) Pay the exorbitant import duty or 2) Have it "sealed" in a locker someplace for the duration of your visit, it gets unsealed when you clear out. In truth they didn't want to deal with our liquor at all and didn't care about opened bottles, but I had a few bottles of gin I'd bought in NZ that I disclosed to them. They really seemed to wish I hadn't told them about it... They didn't search or look anywhere, only where I showed them it was.


My blog post about clearing in here:
Sail Evenstar The Clearance Hurdles 1500m Event - Sail Evenstar
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Old 20-08-2015, 01:40   #40
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

Quote:
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Thanks Belle-Isle for your feedback, it's very useful. It would be good to know if, having spent the last 20 months in French Polynesia and not New Zealand, we would have to go through x-rays, blood and urine tests, etc.
We spent a couple of years in French Poly and didn't have to do any medical work.

I know the OP is sorted, but for anyone else reading this in the future, we found both Tonga and Fiji to be simple to clear into and out of (2014/2015). Yes, you might have to walk to more than one office in Fiji if you don't clear in via Vuda Marina (if you want one stop shopping, just go there, it isn't expensive for their fee)...but everyone was friendly and we treat it as part of the adventure.

Also we received our Australian one-year visas in only 5 working days (2015), after an online application while we were in Fiji, with no supporting documents required and no medical exams required. We did pay the $130 fee per person.

I think the average person has very little problem with these three countries.
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Old 23-02-2016, 16:16   #41
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Re: To Fiji or not to Fiji? That is the question...

Wigwa I guess the consequences of Australia been heavily involved in afghan and Irac wars and the wars they sporned means Australia should openly take in the human tragedy that they helped create.

I think Australian boat people and the red tape and costs for yacht cruising in Australia have a pretty defined line.
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