Ferry from Baku to Aktau

Catching a ferry from Baku to Aktau appears complicated. Li my hero navigator has researched, read many, many blogs…..and attempted to read the finer details on line, in Azeri and Russian……even with the difficulty of translating…..there are no finer details.
So the process……we arrived in Baku as quickly as our legs would allow, giving us 2 more weeks on our Azeri visas to play the deciphering and more expectantly, the waiting game.
The first full day in Baku we apply for our Uzbekistan visas, and $US 75 later (for both Australian and British citizens ) we are granted visas without a hitch. Finding the embassy has been difficult for our predecessors so we take a taxi to avoid delays.
Day 2 we cycle in search of an unsigned, unmarked hut at one of the many ports. Again, thanks to a fellow touring cyclists blog and detailed directions and photographs the only difficulty is negotiations with the traffic. We locate the mysterious ticket office and are told to phone or come back tomorrow.
We plan to avoid Iran due to the new requirements of acquiring a guide so our only options are cycling through Russia….no…..fly……no……or catch a cargo ship to Kazakhstan …..this idea suits us well and we acquired visas in Tbilisi. (100 lari for me, 200 lari for Li.) But the ships only set sail once fully loaded and there is absolutely no schedule. We could wait 1 day…..or as others have done……2 weeks for a boat.
In the morning having been blessed to have met a Russian speaking English cyclist, she phones the ticket office to enquire for us…….and a ship is leaving “today”. This is far quicker than expected, our laundry is wet, we have not bought food supplies, and will need to purchase tickets at the hut and negotiate the city and cycle to another port in time……time for what, we do not know……no one knows no matter what language you speak. The ship will sail when it is ready and may take 18 hours to cross the Caspian Sea, the longest account we could find….96 hours…..dependant upon the weather and port authorities so we need food and water for the duration.
We arrive late at the hut……Li’s directions are spot on but we struggle for 45 minutes to cross 12 lanes of fast moving traffic. The secretary that sells the tickets is notoriously horrible……not so to us. I like her

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