Days: 82Km, Total: 7899Km
Not sure how to explain the whole ferry experience to you so I’ll go for the blow by blow approach…
10:00: We arrive at the ferry office to buy tickets get told to come back at 10, we say its 10 they say ok maybe 11, or 11 30 or maybe its better 1.
12:00: Arrive at the ferry office, get told to come back in half an hour.
13:30: Go into the ferry office to buy tickets. Nope. Ferry is leaving from Alat. 80km away go there, go now!!
We fly off in a hurry to not miss the ferry.
15:00: Arrive at Alat, sign in. the guard flags us down in a hurry, we trundle off to the office and after loads of paperwork get tickets. Ferry is leaving soon. Oh no. That one’s actually going to Kazakstan yours get heres at 20:00. Great…
We have some time to kill so go get the bikes cleaned and then return to enjoy a ‘lavish feast’ (bread and cheese) at the container ‘cafe’.
20:00: no ferry
22:00: no ferry
24:00: You guessed it…. no ferry.
01:00: Yup no ferry, it’ll now be here tomorrow apparently, well later today now actually, this is all getting rather confusing.. We go sleep in a container, Yes a shipping container, you heard right.
08:00: Woken up after a fitful night and get told its time to turn the container back into a cafe.
09:00: See a ferry arriving, get all excited only to be told it’ll be at least 3 hours before we even find out where the ferry is going. I’m going to buy these boys some VHFs…
10:00: Get told we need to pay an additional bridge fee to board the ferry.. Great…
11:00: Continue twiddling our thumbs, we’re getting pretty good at it by this stage.
14:00: Relatively certain the ferry in port is ours. The Shahdag, that we’ve already fondly renamed the Shindig. Somewhat delirious by now…
15:00: It’s now been 24 hours since we arrived.
17:00: A bit of action some rail cargo is loaded onto the ferry.
20:00: Amazing news! Get told to go through customs and board the ferry. 31 hours later…
21:00: We ride onto the ferry and stow the bikes. Have a lovely dinner that’s not bread and cheese. Make friends with the crew and visit the engine room which is rather spotless, very reassuring and rather surprising. Get told the ferry is leaving at midnight.
23:00: pass out in an actual bed.
08:00: Wake up to find the ferry is still actually in port.
09:00: We leave port. All very exciting
12:00: Bruce still hasn’t gotten out of bed, don’t really blame him…
13:00: We drop anchor outside Baku, thanks to some very heavy wind.
two days go by.. There’s not much to report here. Optimistically speaking I guess we could call them days of reflection and relaxation intermingled with some spectacular fiery red sunsets.. Or we could just be blunt and call them what they were, mind boggling boring!
01:00: We pick up anchor and head off at last upon our courageous voyage across the Caspian sea, we were fast asleep of course.
16:00: We’ve made it to Turkmenbashi!! but wait the ports full, so what do we do? drop anchor and spend another night twiddling the old thumbs
17:00: Go drink whiskey with the Captain. Well there’s not exactly anything else going on is there.
18:00: Play some volley ball with the crew, a little tipsy I might add…
20:30: Have dinner. Exciting….
07:00: Pick up the old anchor and head in. Now we getting somewhere..
08:30: Tied up along side. We grab our bags and head down. Nope. Get hustled back inside to wait for immigration.
10:30: Finally allowed off!! Hello Turkmenistan, or more correctly; no mans land. Hmm something tells me this border will be interesting…
11:00: I’m ging to try and get this order correct, bear with me..
- Cashiers Desk: Pay money, no idea what for…
- Immigration counter: Passports stamped.
- Counter 3: Bikes signed in.
- Counter 4: Stamped some shit, no idea what for…
- Counter 2: Also stamped some shit…
- Round the back to another chap that had a stamp and a book..
- Right, left, Right again to an office with a row of airplane chairs to sit in, no idea how those got there.. He also had a couple of stamps for us.
- To the Ticket office: What we were buying tickets for I’m still uncertain.
- Back to the Cashier: Pay fuel tax and 3rd party insurance. We also pay for the service fees for all the stamps, don’t blame them without the amount of ink used…
- Back to the Ticket office: Pick up our ticket?!
- To the Customs counter: He has lots of books and stamps, everyone else must be jealous..
- To the Doctor: Signs and stamps, thankfully no latex gloves were brought out..
- To another room: Low and behold they have a stamp.
- Back to the Customs counter: Show off all our stamps.
- Get told they’re off to lunch and to wait for them outside……. Ahhh….
- They finally come out to inspect the bikes.
- We’re done!!
- We turn the wrong way leaving and get lost in the port. Great….
14:30: Thanks to the delays we now have approx. 24hours to cross an entire country and desert or risk deportation and the impounding of our bikes. This should be interesting….