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Port Vila harbour

Port Vila from the moorings

Temptress’ dilly dallying in Tonga and Fiji ( the latter we hadn’t even planned to visit) means that in order to reach South East Asia before the Pacific cyclone season starts we need keep moving west then north. Vanuatu therefore is just a staging post to restock before the twelve hundred mile passage to Cairns on the Queensland, Australia coast.

Australia has a strict biosecurity regime, extremely rigorously enforced and to ensure our inspection costs are low (they charge $AU200 per hour on top of the flat fee of $AU100 plus $AU30 for every fifteen minutes documentation time) we need to prepare. Everything that might be contaminated with soil – shoes, bikes, deck – needs washing down. Items like baskets need fumigating by placing them in a bin liner, spraying with insecticide and leaving for a few days and Temptress needs to have her waterline etc scrubbed.

We also need to ensure that on arrival we have no fresh fruit or veg left, nor any fresh or frozen meat unless the meat is of either Vanuatu or New Zealand origin and commercially packed. There is an additional list of less specific items like “products containing more than 10% egg”, seeds and pig tusks (not that we have any of the latter) that may also be confiscated meaning we have to go through our food stores, souvenirs and my craft boxes to ensure anything that seems to fit this is declared to avoid being fined.

Then there is a growing list of boat maintenance tasks; the mainsail leech line broke again enroute from Fiji, a cockpit winch has seized, both heads seawater pumps need greasing and more. And the laundry bag is bulging. It will be a busy week in Port Vila but we hope to be ready by Friday.