Vanimo is a small town on mainland Papua New Guinea. Adina was there on 31st August 2015 to obtain our visas for Indonesia and to check-out from Papua New Guinea. The town has had security issues in the past so you need to take care both on land and on board. We arrived early and completed formalities within the day and did not stay overnight.
The bay is large and shallow and reasonably well protected in SE trade winds. Initially we anchored at 02 41.028S 141 17.86E near the dock as we had been advised the dock has security. We then had to move to enable a cargo ship to moor stern to the dock. We moved to 02 41.048S 141 17.591E. Holding was good in both places in mud and plastic bags.
If staying the night the Harbour Master (Levi.Langai@pngports.com.pg) advises yachts to anchor as close to the dock as possible. This area is well lit on shore and in his opinion the safest position in the bay and in theory they have guards. If there is no ship, you can ask to actually tie to the dock which is at 02 40.993S 141 17.896E
One of us stayed on the boat and one of went ashore.
We took the dinghy to the right of the dock (when approaching from sea) which the local banana boats use – 02 40.991S 141 17.948E. This gets very shallow at low tide (less than 30cm for at least 20m from shore) so be careful if you leave your dinghy unattended. There was nowhere obvious that we could have chained the dinghy if we had wanted to.
The Indonesian Embassy is about ten minutes’ walk from the dock and is located at 02 41.0828S 141 18.3242E. Ask anybody and they will show you where to go. From the dinghy dock head immediately right, then straight across the main intersection and head up the street for about 5-8 minutes and turn right at the second road – you can’t miss it as it is well sign posted. The office opens at 9am and it pays to get there a little early to be first in the queue. The paperwork was straight forward given we had the required sponsor letter from our Indonesian agent. You will need your passport and we paid 120 Kina per visa. The visa needs two passport photographs per person. I asked if the visa could be processed that day stating that we were on a yacht and didn’t want to stay in the bay due to security reasons. I was told to return to collect them at 2pm at which time they were ready. They are closed on Friday afternoon so time your arrival Monday to Thursday if you want to leave in one day.
We were not required to complete any formalities with the Harbour Master himself but he was very helpful in helping us track done Customs and Immigration.
Customs are located inconveniently out of town. Ask the Harbour Master for help and he will get them to come to the dock or direct you to a taxi. Cuustoms will want to see your check-in papers and will clear you out. It helps to mail Patrick Kinavai firstname.lastname@example.org 24 to 48 hours in advance of your arrival. His number is 457 1192. Other yachts have had their passports stamped by customs so go here first and ask if they will do it for you. We went to immigration first as customs were unavailable.
We found the Immigration Officer at the airport 02 41.210S 141 17.966E but he does move around! Ask the Harbour Master or Customs to try and contact him first. A departure card is all that is needed and your passports will be stamped.
There were a few basic shops in town plus a small fresh market. We did not spend any time looking for anything else!