A Travellerspoint blog

The Ferry that should have taken 16 hours

Baku, Azerbaijan to Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan

sunny 30 °C
View The long way to Oz on neillkylie's travel map.

‘The ferry should take between 16 hours and 24 hours depending on what happens as we pull into the dock of Turkmenistan’ Pete said so with that information we settled ourselves in on the ferry, taking over the seating area as we were the only tourists on the ferry.

The ferry once in its time had actually been a passenger ferry and was equipped with cabins, restaurants and shops but not now. No restaurant existed, the shops were closed shut and the cabins were somewhere that we used to store our bags. The beds looked like they had seen better days. The toilets were not even tested as the smell that came from them as you got closer put most people off. We paid an extra $20 to have a crew cabin with its own toilet, power supply and bench area where we set up our kitchen. The deck was nothing spectacular, more a roof of the ferry but we spread out the roll mats and enjoyed the sun.
The food that we brought on board, although basic and simple was still up to Odyssey standards.
We used our imagination and had ‘cocktails and canapés’ on the ‘Upper Deck’ at sunset before settling down for the night. At 11.30pm the anchor went down and we thought that we were near port, as customs only operate during office hours. 13 ½ hours – we did the crossing in record time.
Little did we know we were still hours away. At breakfast we found out that we could be here for up to 3 days waiting in the queue. This was not great news but what can you do in the middle of the Sea.

At 1.30pm we started moving again but only sailed for 2 hours before the anchor went down and Turkmenbashi, our port, was in sight. A call to the local guide to bribe the ship controller was rung through so all we had to do was sit back and wait. After Ned got involved with the captain of the ferry and working out a few hand gestures and foreign words, he was told that we would get into port at around 11pm. Let’s hope he understood the captain correctly.
We started moving again around 10pm and were docked at 11pm – just like the captain said although we weren’t off yet. We all needed to go and be examined by a doctor, which consisted of us presenting our passport, smiling and them writing down our details. We were now allowed off the ferry to wait again at customs. At 2am in the morning, none of us had much patience left so when you have 3 guys within 20 meters of each other who can see your passport has been stamped, check that your passport has been stamped it does get on your nerves. I guess its called job creation!

Posted by neillkylie 04:42 Archived in Turkmenistan

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