After six months the time has come to clear out of Indonesia… It wasn’t nearly long enough to discover this vast archipelago of diverse islands. Maybe we will return one day…
We’re in Belitung, an island roughly halfway between Jakarta and Singapore, and we were able to complete exit clearance here. Indonesians love paperwork and we were chuffed to complete the entire process in just one day. Yes, apparently it can take several days, if you’re unlucky.
We started the process at 8am with Immigration. Taxi to the other side of town, friendly welcome, photocopies had to be taken, forms filled in and stamps were promptly received, an hour later. Next stop: Customs, located near the port authorities on the other side of town. They also needed photocopies, of all sort of documents, but when we said we didn’t bring copies, they were happy to accept scanned pictures via email. Then they announced they had to come and inspect the boat. We were surprised.
“Really? We are clearing out, not in.”
“Yes, yes,” they said, “we still need to check the boat.”
So while the kids and I waited in the office, Seathan went back to the boat accompanied by the customs officers. Apparently they were keen to check whether we had AIS and whether the engines were working. Whilst that was being established, the kids and I played a monopoly card game (or three) and were offered delicious chocolate cake by the staff.
Late morning, and, step two of the process completed, we headed to the Harbour Master, who, apparently, would be issuing our ‘zarpe’ or exit document which we need to enter the next country. However, they informed us they couldn’t do anything until we had gone to Quarantine.
So off to the next office: Quarantine, based around the corner. This was the point where Seathan and I had to take a deep breath and remember to keep smiling. It’s the first time ever we had to go to Quarantine when leaving the country, but, apparently, yes, in Indonesia that is a requirement. More forms. More stamps. We asked the three women in the office to explain to us the purpose of Quarantine?
“To communicate with the other departments,” was the answer.
Ok, that makes it clear, then?!?!? Never mind, we got the stamps and headed back to the Harbour Master before they went on their long lunch break.
We got there just in time. But, there was a problem. We didn’t have an inward clearance document from the Harbour Master in Biak, where we checked in. When we arrived in the country the authorities told us there was no need to see the Harbour Master, so we didn’t.
“Not to worry,” said the big chief. “We will coordinate with Customs and prepare your clearing out document for this afternoon. Just remember for next time. Go and have some lunch and come back at 3pm.”
So that’s it, all done, in one day! Result. We even managed to squeeze in a trip to the barber shop and a final diesel run. Next stop: Malaysia!