Customs visits Estrellita in paradise
Customs made the rounds at the anchorage of Taiohae on Nuku Hiva and we were vessel number one. They were mainly concerned with alcohol, pets, drugs, plants,firearms and tobacco. We only had alcohol and we had declared it on our form when we cleared into the country and so it was an inconvenient but not particularly stressful experience carried out by a group of nice agents.
They dug out every container of booze and put it into piles: a pile of wine, a pile of beer and a pile of alcohol. Then they verified the amounts with our form and told us they would have to seal the extra. After some negotiation, they agreed that we could use one of our duffle bags for the seal and they agreed, because we had been honest and exact, to leave us with substantially more unsealed booze than is allotted. They sealed 20 bottles of wine in the duffle.They left us with all of our beer, all of our liquor, 8 bottles of wine and a big mess to clean up.
We arrived in French Polynesia with more than the allotted amount of booze, knowing that they could choose to seal the amount in excess. It is also possible to pay duty on it but we were quoted 3500CFP (about 40USD/bottle) for wine and so declined. If they board us again and the seal is broken, or presumably if there are fewer than 20 bottles in the duffle, we will have “a big problem”. Otherwise, no harm, no foul.