Island life

Boat Mail Haul

Today we are going to look at the way mail works on the island and how long it can take to get the most basic items.

Before I moved to Christmas Island, I had never realised just how much I took for granted. If I wanted a pair of shoes, I’d take a quick drive down the road. That isn’t the case here.
You can buy shoes on island but they are mostly “tradie” shoes.

I did make this a video originally but I failed majorly with my camera work – as you will see with my pretty shocking photo captures.
Trial and error, I’ll do better next time!
So for now it will all be in photo form.

Before we start I would like to say that I do understand that a lot of the mark ups come from the freight costs. It is incredibly expensive to ship items over, unless it is general mail.
However, that doesn’t mean I want to pay a premium when I could pay a much smaller price.

I do a brief rundown of costs in my post The truth about living on a tropical island.
This is only one aspect of the island, and obviously the good outweighs the bad otherwise we wouldn’t be here!

Related Post
The Pros and Cons of living on a tropical island

Welcome to my first ever boat mail (photo) haul!

Due to the large amount of mail and general cargo it takes a while to unload. All cargo also has to be cleared by customs before it can even reach the post office, or any other place it may be heading.
Once the ladies at the post office have mail, they work tirelessly to sort it all for collection.

This is what it looks like on Sea Mail Day!
Photo taken from CI Blackboard Facebook group.

This haul is separated into 3 loads.
It is all the same boat, but it doesn’t all become available at once.
The boat arrived on April 14th.


Load One

17th of April
3 days after the boat got in

I got two boxes. One from target and one from spotlight.

Target
This order was placed on 7th of March

Shoes for Luna
The only means of buying shoes for tiny humans is through our local Buy, Swap, Sell (this is basically our version of Kmart, if I’m honest) or the Op Shop. Even then it’s not the easiest to find quality shoes in the right size.

Little work boots for Luna to wear when helping her dad. So cute!

Nappies
I have a huge pile of cloth nappies that got neglected during my PND last year. So we ended up sticking to disposable. Boy, do I regret that!
In this load we got 8 packets of nappies. With Luna’s things we need to plan ahead because of the time it takes to get to us.
So if she’s in one size, we normally buy the next size up.
You can get nappies at nearly every grocery store on island, however you are paying a premium for them.

I tried to get an accurate price comparison but I could not find this exact size and brand. So I have a Huggies comparison instead!
At Coles you can get 36 Nappies for $16, here it’s $24.50 for 24 nappies.
Per nappy that is 44cents per nappy vs 98cents. Over double!

32GB Micro Sd card
I bought this for my Nintendo switch. Another thing you can get on island but this was on sale so added it to my order.

Doll pram for Lunas baby doll
This wasn’t a necessity by any means. It was part of Luna’s Easter gift.
I could of bought a Baby Born brand pram at the post office for $30, however this cost me $10.

Spotlight
This order was placed on 19th of February

Laundry baskets
Ours broke. Everything seems to break, rust or go mouldy on this island.
I could of paid roughly the same amount to get some on island, however these are much sturdier so I was willing to wait.

Bed sheets
I have an addiction to bedding, and when it’s on sale I can’t resist.
So this was definitely not a need. However the only decent place to buy bedding on island closed down due to the slowing economy.


LOAD TWO

24th of April
One week since boat load 2 and 10 days since the boat arrived

I got a huge amount of packages this time. 8 in total. But only 2 orders from spotlight.. Go figure!

Spotlight
Both of these orders were made on February 9th.

Towels, towels and more towels
Most people have a sock black hole. We have a towel one. So we ordered 4 bath towels, 4 bath sheets, 4 face washers and 3 beach towels. We should be set for at least a week…

As with the bedding, the store that was the best place to buy this stuff has closed down.

Photo frames
There are a few little novelty gift stores on island that sell beautiful but fancy frames. When I want a simple one to use in my crafts or for my photos I need to go offisland.

Glass canisters
Everything here seems to be plastic. Since we started the switch to reusable and sustainable, I’ve been slowly buying glass jars and containers in my orders.

Again it was hard to find an on-island comparison.
The closest I could get was plastic containers.
The largest of these canisters (2.1L) cost me $4.80 (marked down from $6).
An on-island plastic 2.6L costs $14.60.


Load 3 – April 30th

6 days since boat load and 16 days since the boat arrived

Spotlight
Order was part of the previous order in Load 2

Cutlery set

No pictures here, Jack opened it before I got a chance.
This was part of my previous haul. Cutlery here will set you back roughly $3-6 per piece (depending on where you buy from), so I decided to get a set of 40 for $35 (on sale).


So there you have it!
From the date of my first order to the date of my final load of mail, it took 80 days. Nearly 3 months! 
From the date between the boat landing and getting all my mail it took 16 days.

This is how it is on the island. You need to wait a huge amount of time for the most basic items.
If you have a birthday or event coming up, you need to start buying stuff months in advance.
There’s no slipping out at last minute to grab a gift.

You can of course get a lot of basic items on island, but you have next to no choice on quality, brand or price.

On a side note. This is the amount of packaging from my second haul, which was mostly towels. 
While I appreciate that my items arrived safely, I am appalled by the amount of plastic used. At one point I found a literal roll of plastic shopping bags shoved in somewhere. So much for cutting down on plastic! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my (not so) little haul. I’ll work on my camera skills so I can bring you some amazing island tours in future!

-*

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Jess is an aspiring blogger, born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. After relocating to remote Christmas Island, Australia, to be with her fiance, she became a mother for the first time. As a long-time sufferer of anxiety, Jess knew that as a mother she couldn't keep letting it take control of her life. Using the power of planning, Jess has learned how to use her passion for organisation to minimise anxiety and maximise her self-worth. Now she runs her blog, Mindful Galaxy, to bring all of these lessons straight to you so that you can live your best life.

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