Clearing in to Indonesia at Jayapura

Adina checked in to Indonesia at Jayapura on 1st September 2015. Jayapura is a busy city with many restaurants, ATMs and shops; for us it was a useful stop after time spent travelling through remote islands in Papua New Guinea.


Having completed departure formalities in Vanimo, PNG, we left at sunset and arrived into the bay at Jayapura before midnight. We had used satellite images to select a location away from potential hazards for a nighttime arrival. We anchored at 02 37.012 S 140 46.382 E in 7m of mud. There was some swell but it was tolerable. We slept here before raising the anchor at first light to motor the 6.5nm to the main harbour.

We dropped anchor at 02 32.405 S 140 42.512 E in 32m of mud and plastic bags. This location is tucked in to the north of the harbour, away from heavy shipping, and close to town. On our second morning we were woken to be asked to move closer in as a ferry and a Navy ship were coming in. We re-anchored as close to the shore as we felt comfortable. A friend’s yacht who came in after we had left anchored here as well and the navy actually moved their boat while they were in town! They then anchored at 02.32.548S 140.42.535E. in 28m of mud. This is further from town but removes the risk of disturbing the navy boat should it be around.

The anchorage is not very pleasant, littered with plastic bags and general debris, but the holding seemed ok.

Getting ashore

We used the Police dock (02 32.2841 S E140 42.483 E) visible nearby for our dinghy using the phrase “Boleh kami tinggal disini?” to ask permission to leave it there. We used the dock many times and there were often different Police personnel around. We were always friendly and checked with the new personnel and never had an issue and were always given a friendly wave.

The watch-out here is that the tide gets very low, down to less than 30cm of water at the side of the dinghy dock closest to the river mouth. Once we realised this we left our dinghy on the outer side of the dock between the large Police boats.

If you arrive needing cash, walk up to the street from the Police dock and turn right. Less than fifty metres along is the closest ATM.

Getting around

Whilst many of the distances around the city look walkable, the heat makes it challenging. Fortunately there are many cheap mini-vans that operate as taxis: white for within the city, 3000Rp per person wherever you want to go; green for locations out of the centre, 4000Rp per person – you’ll need to take one of these to get to the Immigration office; blue ones are for the airport.


The best way to complete all the formalities is to start with Harbour Master, then Customs, then Quarantine and finally Immigration. The one snag here is it is difficult to pronounce the word for Harbour Master so you may want to go to customs first and walk back 300m to the Harbour Master. It’s a good idea to carry a boat card to show in case you get problems explaining what we needed to do; this seemed to work well given our non-existent Indonesian and most people’s limited English. A boat stamp is essential and was well used and it sped things up to have copies of all our main documents to hand over to the officials.

1. Harbour Master = “Kantor Syahbandar Dan Otoritas Pelabuhan”
Location: Jl Koti #8.
The Harbour Master is located on the road running south out of the city along the waterfront – take a taxi – you may want to go to customs as it easier to pronounce and then walk back here – it’s around 300m from the customs office. They took copies of our boat registration document, CAIT, clearance document from Vanimo, our crew list and passports. As the officer wanted to keep the original of the clearance document from Vanimo we asked him to provide us with a copy in case we needed it to show Customs, which it turned out we did. We received no paperwork back but were asked to return before departing from the port in order to get our Port Clearance. Other yachts after us have reported being asked for bribes – refuse.

2. Customs = “Bea Cukai” (pronounced Choo-kai)
Location: On Jl Koti, further south (out of town) from the Harbour Master – about 300m.
There was a large pile of papers for us to complete. We provided copies of our boat registration document, CAIT, clearance document from Vanimo, our crew list and passports. They wanted details of all our boat equipment including navigation systems, computers, liferaft etc. but never checked the detail which was good as we didn’t know the serial numbers off all our equipment. They also want details of alcohol/tobacco onboard. We asked about the need for a temporary import permit (PIB) and were told that yes we needed to have one and that they could not be issued in Jayapura but in Sarong or Biak. We asked the officer to stamp and sign the letter we had produced ourselves for our PIB in case we had any issue in the meantime. This letter which you can do yourself simply states that you will not engage in commercial activities or sell your boat. Having completed the paperwork we were told we would need to return to the office before leaving the port to collect our completed arrival papers from him. The officers also wanted to inspect Adina in person which we arranged for later that day. The inspection was quite thorough, rummaging around under the sinks, looking under the floor boards and in most cupboards but there were no issues.

To note, when we got to Sarong we were told that the letter we had with Jayapura customs’ stamp and signature was all we needed for the PIB and there was nothing more the Sarong office would issue. We produced it when we check out in Belitung and had no problems.

3. Quarantine = “Kesehatan Pelabuhan”
Location: On Jl Koti, 100 metres south from Customs, 02 32.798S 140 42.786E.
We were immediately shown into a car and driven out of the city up to another facility where the relevant officer was working. He completed the paperwork very quickly and efficiently, providing us with a receipt for the 40,000Rp fee for the Certificate of Practique. The paperwork required from us were the boat paper, CAIT, passports and crew list. Again we were asked to return before departing the port in order to obtain a Quarantine Port Clearance. Both of these documents were needed for our clearance out of Indonesia.

4. Immigration = “Kantor Imigrasi”
Location: Jl Fery, Cepos Lama Kelapa II, Entrop, 2.34.0399S 140.42.1039E.
This was the most challenging of all formalities purely because the office had recently moved out of the city and few people seem to know about this! To get to the new office you need to take a green mini-van to Entrop which is an area on the outskirts of Jayapura. The journey takes about 15 minutes and costs 4000Rp per person. The office is down a side street and not obvious. We suggest writing the address on a piece of paper to show the driver. If he cannot find it, ask him to go to the Papua New Guinea Embassy which is nearby – the gentleman working there knew where to find the Immigration office. Another option that worked for friends after us is when you have finished at Quarantine give the officers there the address and get them to get you a taxi and explain it to the driver.

Having already obtained our Social Visas in Vanimo, once at immigration we needed to fill in an arrival card and provide copies of our boat registration, CAIT, crew list and passports. Once our passports had been stamped we were asked to go and get copies of the visa and entry stamp for Immigration to keep – there was no photocopy machine in the office. There are plenty of photocopy shops around, we just asked to be shown to the nearest one. Immigration will give you a blank departure card and a stamped crew list – hold on to this, you will need it to clear out.

5. Police = “Polisi”
Location: Polresta, Jl Yani 11 (in the centre of town), 02 32.573S 140 42.231E.
As we were planning a couple of stops in Papua we needed to get a ‘Surat Jalan’, a tourist permit for the region. We went to the central Police Station (“Polresta”), asked at the reception for a ‘Surat Jalan’ and were shown to the correct office. We needed to provide copies of our passports, visas and entry stamps, two passport photos per person, the boat paper and CAIT. The officer asked for a “contribution to the administrative costs”; we asked if there would be a receipt for the contribution to which the answer was “no” so we politely declined. This caused no issue. We went to a photocopy shop and made five copies of the Surat Jalan in the expectation we would need them in other towns, as advised by the officer. You will need one of these letters if visiting Raja Ampat.

As an aside, in the alleyway opposite the Polresta there were numerous stalls making rubber stamps to requirement.


Diesel = ‘Solar’
Technically you are now allowed to take your own jerry cans to a petrol station and get fuel but this is a new law and slow to filter out to all the islands. When we were in Jayapura the law had yet to be introduced. Having got chatting to the Police officers at the dock, we asked about obtaining ‘solar’ and were introduced to Selfi, one of the officer’s wives. She was able to help us obtain diesel at a price of 11,000Rp per litre. We tried to negotiate but there was no budging so given we wanted to be in Jayapura as short a time as possible we went ahead. We felt if we had moved to an anchorage out of the main harbour we might have found it easier to find someone who would sell us diesel for a more reasonable price – you should be able to get it for fisherman from 10,000Rp per litre. Be warned this fuel is not the cleanest so use filters. Overall we found Selfi helpful but pushy. She is keen to work with yachts and can be contacted on +62 812 40882018.

After visiting various shops with Selfi we established that gas bottles cannot be refilled in Jayapura only exchanged.

Food and general supplies
There is a hypermarket in the Jayapura Mall which is within walking distance of the Police dock. Go up to the street and turn left, follow to the main road, look to the right across the cross road and you’ll see Jayapura Mall. The hypermarket is in the basement. We found the stock to be adequate to restock on a few things we were missing, including stocking up on decent beef and chicken (no pork or lamb available). In the Mall you will also find various clothes and electronics shops with items at good prices.

Useful phrases

Salam = Hello
Terima kasih = Thank you
Selamat tinggal = Goodbye (when you are leaving)
Di mana…? = Where is….?
Di mana kantor Imigrasi? = Where is the immigration office?
Boleh kami tinggal disini = Can I leave the dinghy here?

Remember the clocks go back one hour when arriving from PNG!

On departure

We revisited Quarantine, Customs and the Harbour Master in that order to complete departure formalities, taking just over two hours in total. The resulting documents all cleared us to our next port in Indonesia, Sarong. They would not clear us to our final port in Indonesia insisting we had to stop in Sarong.

Heading on

You do not need to go to Sarong and may prefer to skip yet another dirty harbour and head straight to Waisai (00 25.831S, 130 49.422E). Provisioning is better in Sarong and fuel probably a little cheaper. But you can get fuel in Wasai and provision there. And Raja Ampat is where you want to be.

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