All checked in and legal
Saturday 7th November 2015
After a short nap we called up Australian Border Protection in Coffs Harbour and spoke to Anthony, a very pleasant chap who told us we should wait in the anchorage until called into the marina. Apparently we are not allowed to make landfall without the Border Protection authorities present. We made use of the time tidying up the boat as we were expecting a full inspection by Quarantine and Customs.
Around 1100 we were called into the marina where Anthony was waiting to take our lines at the allocated berth. Once safely tied up he came on board, apologising for his big boots on our deck. We had been expecting a team of officials, but it seemed that Anthony was it – a one-man band authorised to carry out all the formalities. Within a very pleasant hour of chatting, question-and-answering, form-filling and signing and removing of prohibited foodstuffs and garbage, we were cleared and the ‘Q’ flag could come down.
Having carried out an inspection of the wood below to ensure she didn’t have termites, Anthony granted Scott-Free a Control Permit for 12 months, extendable twice to a maximum of 3 years. All the usual conditions about not hiring the boat out etc. apply, and we have to email the boat’s whereabouts to Border Protection every three months, but otherwise we are free to cruise Australian waters.
Steve went to the marina office to sort out berthing. They originally said we would have to go back to anchor after clearance as the berth we were using was allocated to another boat coming in later, but after he pointed out that we had in fact emailed several days ago and received a reply from Elise, the marina manager, saying that they would have a berth for us, they decided we could stay just where we were.
So, here we are, safe and sound in Australia, all Visas and Permits in place and ready to explore this vast country. Exciting!