Across Continents

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Immigration. Passport control. Customs. Familiar terms for international travellers. In Australia add another. Quarantine. They’ve very protective of their unique eco-system. Keen to keep the likes of Foot and Mouth out. Or other bugs and nasties that could reek havoc with their agriculture. So, some pretty tough restrictions on what you can bring into the country. Intentionally or otherwise. And they enforce it. Strictly.

Seizure - web

Early morning at Sydney airport’s international arrivals. A long queue at Quarantine. And growing. But Emma, my trusty steed, and I weren’t in it. We were just contributing to it. There’d been hints from the plane’s Captain. Declare everything. Searches are thorough. Penalties for attempted evasion serious.

And I’d declared just about everything I could think of. First aid kit. Prescription medications. Dried milk powder. Emergency rations. True value of my kit. And Emma herself. Australia fearful of contaminated soil, mud or dirt inadvertently introducing spores or such like into the environment.

Inspecting officer Laura was very friendly, helpful. And very thorough. Professional. Tyres and boots inspected. Bags x-rayed. She explained that the milk powder could act as a carrier for Foot and Mouth so she’d have to seize it. Together with my emergency freeze-dried stew. No dried meat products permitted.

I’d forgotten to mention the tent. Not used for a while, cleaned and dried since its last outing. She’d spotted it on the scanner. I was a bit embarrassed and said so. An honest mistake. Been up for over twenty four hours. Hoped that as I’d been so massively up-front with everything else, she’d realise this was genuinely the case. Tent pegs quickly inspected for soil contamination. Clean. Checks complete. No stamp. Just a certificate. Notice of Seizure of Goods. For the items confiscated.

[Author’s note: If you’re entering Australia with a bicycle, or other outdoors equipment like a tent, make sure it is clean – no mud or soil. And declare absolutely everything on the card given to you before you land. Checks are very thorough. Did I mention the sniffer dogs that patrol? Well, they do. With handlers rather than in pairs]


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One response to “Quarantine”

  1. David Lewis says:

    Glad to see you’ve made it into Australia in one piece. We are due in Sydney in August. We may be bringing our Land Rover too so she’ll be getting a steam clean!

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