CANCELLED – Unfortunately, my expedition to Lacepedes OC-214 does not take place.

At the end of April 2016 I’ve received verbal approval and the process of obtaining a permit has been launched – the necessary documents, application, etc provided to DPAW (Department of Parks and Wildlife) in Broome, WA. This approval was given by DPAW officer, Marine Park Coordinator. Until May 16, there was no answer, that’s fine. On this day additional information on the expedition has been requested. On May 18 the officer has said that she is resigned, but all documents are in the process.

Then everything became the inexplicable. Attempts to contact to the person that performs previous officer’s functions were unsuccessful – today she isn’t in. She’s already gone. Then lady on the phone told me that they do not have a person replacing previous officer. I insisted to get all paperwork re-sent to the director DPAW offices in Broome. He decided not talk to me, but on the same day, 31 May, I received a complete rejection by email.

Trying to remove the reasons for which have been denied, I have consistently offered:
– At my own expense to bring DPAW employee with me, he would do his work and do control how I fulfill requirements
– Being at the beach only at any of the four islands near the water’s edge
– Do not use a generator, a solar panel and battery instead to get rid of the noise.

After strong request to provide a legal document containing the terms and conditions, and contact with the central office DPAW in Western Australia, Broome office sent me an excerpt from the requirements. As it turned out – granting permission to visit the islands is only possible for a licensed Operator (tourist campaign, skipper). To stay at the islands only allowed from sunrise to sunset, while nothing can be left for the night on the island. All of this (assuming that the permit would still be granted) dramatically increases the cost of the expedition, but I was desperate and did not care. I continued – but followed by another final rejection. I did try to involve 2 local Operators because it was in their interests to not lose a client… After they visited DPAW office in person – one of them stopped responding to mail, the second one hasn’t got promised phone call at all.

Even if the permit at this point would be given – the expedition has lost any meaning. Doubled cost of transportation (licensed Operator only). Ability to be on air for at least an hour after sunrise and stop operation for at least one hour before sunset – almost completely cuts off Europe and North America. Therefore, it was decided to cancel the expedition.

Possible causes of the incident varied, bizarre and even include all sorts of conspiracy theories.
The best comment given at the end of the epic by skipper in Broome – “at present they are in denial and wrapped up in their own bullshit.”
Alas, I am not a lawyer, and don’t have financial capacity to start a process with lawyer – even though I could see the huge holes in the reasons for refusal.

RESULTS: The expedition has been canceled. I hope that future change of staff or requirements may let me to come back to the idea in next 2-3 years. If anyone is interested I can provide communications’ trail.

I’m ready, respectfully understanding all possible motives (interest only in OC-214, a new IOTA Online LogCheck, we believe in you, but you … and so on), return the received donations. Just email me at [email protected], to what email address on PayPal I have to use. Refund of the donation will be in full, I will cover PayPal cost.

If you are still interested in Australian IOTA and other islands – I will gratefully use donations to organize another expedition. It will be held on the same dates that were planned for the OC-214 – September 2016. The island is no less interesting. It was a back-up plan. Everything is easier there, all the necessary permits were obtained.

But I just do not want to publish actual plans anymore…. Touch wood this one WILL happen.

Thank you for your understanding.

Andy VK5MAV.