Sleeping in the port had been so-so. At some point there were some dogs barking and there were new trucks arriving every 15 minutes. But thanks to earplugs it wasn’t that bad. Night was over at 6:30am due to the sun waking us up.
Breakfast today was bought in the small mini market located in the port. Even though the building had a size of (max) 2x2m, they had everything necessary. Not just for us but also for all the others we met. Coffe was provided by the other two Germans!
After our breakfast we were a little unsure: what do we do now? There wasn’t really anything to do so we just sat around and waited. After not too long, a biker arrived on his F800GS Adventure. His name was Adrian and he was from Romania. He has a route similar to us with the goal being Mongolia. Looking at Adrian, but also at Alois & Eisi, we noted that they had quite a lot of luggage. And we always thought we were packed. At 10am we got the info that the ferry would depart at around 2pm. So, we had some time to kill.
To make good use of the time, Chris decided to work on the electrics of his bike. The initial way he had wired his 12V socket wasn’t working properly so he fixed it by getting the power from a different cable. Thereby, at least some of the time was put to good use. Just as he was done, it started to rain. So all bikers went to take shelter under one of the of the customs buildings.
Soon after, one of the customs officers told us that we could beginn boarding. Sooner than we had expected! So we rode over to the border control and got stamped out by the guards. After that we rode on board and parked our bikes at the sides of the cargo bay. The enormous amount of space remaining would later be filled by trucks and cars.
We had heard that the cargo bay could not be acessed during the passage so we strapped off everything we might need and carried it on deck. Climbing steep stairs (or ladders) with luggage on the back isn’t that easy. Once on deck, we were unsure where to go. As we were one of the first we set off to have a look around. After some searching we found the “reception” where a lady soon started to assign the rooms to groups of people.
We didn’t pay for a two person cabin so we had to find two roommates. They were quickly found: Adrian and a British cyclist on his around-the-world trip: Steve. Together we moved into our
cell cabin wich thankfully had a window. After stuffing our gear in two small cabinets Chris had a look around the ship while Fabi took a nap to recover from the exhausting day.
The facilities of the ship were.. basic. Our “hallway” with approximately 15 cabins had a total of two showers and three toilets. The canteen was found quickly but it was closed. On the door was a sheet with the opening hours: One hour for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Besides that there wasn’t much on the ship. The two decks didn’t feature any amenities like vending machines (where are you thinking) or benches. But at least the sanitary facilities were clean. For now. We took the opportunity and had a quick shower.
After some more walking around, watching food and trucks board the ship, we met the other two Germans. They had purchased the luxury-upgrade: Two person cabin and were pretty satisfied. Instead of a second bed their cabin featured a sofa. Not too bad but we were alright with our cabin. After all, the upgrade would have cost an additional 20$.
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are located in different time zones with a difference of one hour. So, we were not really sure what the time on the ship was. This was crucial information as there was the risk of missing food! At 7pm Azerbaijani time we walked past the canteen and there were people in it eating! Official dinner time was from 7:30 to 8:30pm. So apparently the ships’ time was Kazakhstan-time.
After securing a table for the four of us, we went to get our gourmet menu. Or not ;). Like the ship, the food was basic but not bad. Dinner consisted of a bottle of Fanta and spagetti with meat sauce. If you asked nicely, you even got a second portion!
During dinner the ship moved out of the port and our journey to Kazakhstan began! We noticed that the state of cleanliness of the toilets was decreasing quickly. Hope was that the trip wouldn’t take much longer than the usual 24 hours. Fingers crossed!