For those of you who have been following for awhile, you know about our clearance adventures in Fiji and Tonga. If not, I recommend the Tongan experience in particular which (in retrospect) was hilarious – you can do a search on our blog to find it. Fiji was somewhat better and I understand from John Henrichs (FPB64 Tiger) that Fiji has gotten much more user friendly by eliminating some of the requirements for separate permits for the Lau Group and reducing the number of mandatory check in points.
At any rate, I didn’t have high expectations that French Polynesia would be much better. Steve has been making cargo runs to Pitcairn Island via French Polynesia and they have been using an agent to expedite things for the sum of USD 200. While I groused about the fee, I bit the bullet and engaged the agent. He promptly got named Secret Agent Man because two days out of Tahiti and many emails later, we still had not heard from him – I was really beginning to regret my decision when we received a comprehensive email detailing the documents we would need on arrival.
We barely had the lines on at Marina Taina when Pascal Bredin, General Manager of Tahiti Yacht Services stepped aboard. He reviewed our documents and said he would take them to customs and we should wait on the boat as Immigration would be along within the hour. Pascal returned with all the customs clearance documents, our duty free fuel exemption which greatly reduced out cost of fuel and shortly thereafter, Mr. Immigration arrived and we were cleared. He also arranged to exempt us form the bond required of all those arriving in French Polynesia in the amount of a ticket for a flight home. He arranged Roger’s flight home at rates better then I could obtain and booked all the inter island commuter flights for our guests. All very efficient and painless and it only got better from there.
Pascal handled all the details for us – he arranged for cab service with Emily who was just excellent and was available by phone anytime for our needs, he arranged for a post paid cell phone sim and postpaid 3G/2G data card for our Peplink router the same morning as our arrival. All marina charges, fuel charges, cab charges and the like were forwarded to Pascal and we paid nothing at the time – at the end of the month, we were forwarded a detailed invoice of all our charges which we paid in one go to him. He arranged for us to bunker the boat, both in Tahiti and in Nuka Hiva later in our journey, and helped with local sourcing of parts and services we needed. Even the mechanic we engaged to work on an engine problem we were having gladly sent his charges directly to Pascal(Bruno Gremy of GMS who was also excellent). When we needed to have our spare raw water pump rebuilt and it was not ready at the time out our departure from Tahiti, Pascal arranged to it forwarded by ferry to Moorea and transferred to a hotel near where we were anchored.
On our third day in Tahiti, Pascal spent the morning with us detailing things to do and see on each of the islands we will be visiting and gave us the names of operators we should contact for various activities.
The cost for Pascal’s services is a 10 percent commission on everything he takes care of except for marina charges and fuel which he does not mark up. As he generally obtains a 10% discount from the folks he works with, the cost to us was pretty minimal.
We highly recommend him. Contact info is Pascal Bredin, GeneraManager, TAHITI YACHT SERVICES, Phone 689 85 52 85, cell 689 77 44 47, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a general note, I was pleasantly surprised at just how efficiently things worked in Tahiti – a far cry from Fiji and Tonga. The level of services, including parts availability, was generally excellent. Viva la France.
And once again, a hat tip to the good folks at Circa who expedited some parts to us on short notice.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Gotta go – we are approaching Huahini and Shabby just caught his first bird – an interesting process trying to get it unhooked. Didn’t make up for the wahoo that bit thru our wire trace and escaped earlier. Time for a heavier wire trace – things grow big and mean out here.
I crank in the critter with Kim at hand.
Steve corals the angry critter while Surgical Physician Assistant Daughter Kim performs a hookectomy.
As you can see, I am well behind in my posts – will try to be more diligent when I get time but we stay pretty busy out here.