sunrise on Sunday morning after a gentle night's
instructed to pick up a "yacht mooring" near the wharf. Weel quite a sea running
from the north straight into the bay, with a surf on the beach which is
apparently generally dead-calm. Only 2 moorings visible, one in the surf zone
near the jetty, the other too close to the rocks on west side of bay for
our length. Anchoring is prohibited in the bay. While motoring in circles
considering our options, I noticed a couple of Coke bottles tied together so
went to check these out, as it happened they were attached to a monster rope
which could only be from a big mnooring block. Problem was no loop in the rope
and extremely short - too short to pull up onto the deck, so hung over the side
and clove-hitched a rope around the mooring warp. It was just below a broken
splice so had "something" to stop the hitch sliding up and
from Harbour Master on VHF on approach, and satellite phone signal unreliable
(probably due to the high cliffs surrounding the bay), so hung out for an hour
or two waiting for someone to see our yellow flag and send officials aboard.
Around 9:30am (local time) received a VHF call from Customs telling us to all
come ashore and visit their sea-side office in a gazebo under a palm tree. So we
launched the dinghy and all went ashore to one of the most relaxed, easiest and
cheapest (no charges at all!) "Clearance Formalities" sessions I've ever
Then up to Hbr
Masters office, but Sundau so not working. A cleaner let me in and I used his
own desk phone to call him. No Problems, come in tomorrow - he says with sounds
of babies playing in the background. What about the Coke bottle I'm tied up to?
No Problems, it's one of our work moorings and not a yacht mooring, but No
Problem, it's a very heavy weight, holds our big
A quick visit
to nearest supermarket to buy olives and a local sim card (my Vodafone sim no
good here, only Telstra network), then back to boat to call my kids and sort out
Now I learn
that a Telstra SIM has to be "activated" by calling a number, spending 10
minutes dealing with automated prompts to decide what to do and what plan etc,
only to then be put through to an operator in India or Pakistan who says "How
can I help you?" I tell him I'd just spent 10 minutes answering prompt
questions about activating the phone, so chances are I want to activate my new
sim. "What plan?" Well I'd answered that question already via prompt. "This
number to activate?" Yes, that was another question already answered. "Your name
and date of birth?" I wrote these on the form when I bought the sim, you can get
them from that, and besides my age has nothing to do with my ability to use a
Thank you Sir,
your phone will be activated in 4 hours. UNBELIEVABLE. I buy sims in every
country in the world, walk outside the shop and use the phone immediately. Mr.
India or Pakistan can be no further help so I patiently wait out the 4
Grab the Hooka
gear and a long mooring line and dive down under the Coke bottles, aabout 5m
down I find a big spliced loop in the mooring warp, so I feed our line through
and double it back onboard. At least now the boat is securely moored, although
the swells beam-on make for an uncomfortable ride.
After 4hrs and
15min I call back. Sorry sir, we are making technical babble changes and you
will be activated in 24 hrs. UNBELIEVABLE.
So I try "I'm
captain of a ship and just arrived after a week at sea and must make many many
calls to officials or else the Coast Guard and Navy will be sending out search
parties to look for us"
I can connect
you to a number, I'm told. So... I can call you, and you can connect me to other
numbers so in fact my phone works, but you wont let me use it - I start my rant.
Yes Sir, and other phones can call you also. Not much help, I tell her, because
I can't use my phone to contact anyone and tell them the number that apparently
they can call me on!
It's now the
next morning, approaching the 24 hrs, and phone still not
clear-out today and probably depart tomorrow morning. The lack of protection
from the seas at this anchorage is annoying us ...
checked the scene last night and returned uninspired. They are going to rent
scooters today and explore further, but are not too hopeful in a place with 1500
population (plus 2000 detainees). And mostly Miners and Port
Moral of this
story - DON'T BUY TELSTRA - do NOTHING to encourage this company to continue