Fushiki to Russia Week 7
The RUS was also easy to spot as it was the only vessel to be seen.
We had been advised to arrive at the port by 11am to complete documentation before the expected 18.30 sailing
Customs formalities were conducted with politeness, but also meticulous checks on the frame numbers. It took about 40 minutes to have the Carnet stamped before being lead to the FKK office. Here we met up with some other travellers. Mike, and Simon and Laura.
It seemed as though we were in the “naughty” room, as none of us had any idea as to what was happening.
For us, ticketing had been conducted directly with the Russian company in Vladivostok. FKK failed to reply to any of our emails. Mike had a Japanese girlfriend who had managed to sort things from Japan, and Simon and Laura had been living for several months teaching English. They had at least a working amount of Japanese.
Without help with interpretation in either Russian or Japanese, it might take a bit longer.
After a short time, Mike and us were escorted back to the Customs office where copies of our passports and driving permits were again shown, we were led back outside and asked for the loading and port fees of 10,000 yen (about £50.00) This was pocketed by the gentleman from YKK who then said we could ride our bikes up to the ship. Our passports seemed to be the only documents needed to pass to the loading area.
After some hanging around, Natasha and I decided to board the ship and get out of our riding gear.
At least the Vladivostok emails had worked, and we had a cabin waiting for us. (It is not the worst cabin on the ship, we were assured.)
As it was about 13.30, we decided to stock up with water and have a bit of lunch.
There is a tiny Cafe nearly next door to the Customs office. Excellent Japanese food, brilliant service, and all for about £3.40 each. We waddled back on board only to find that lunch was being served! (Shouldn't have filled up in the cafe.)
By about 15.30 we noticed that some bikes were being loaded.
Fortunately, not by being craned onto the upper decks as the cars, but pushed up a ramp at the side of the ship.
Mike had gone down as he wanted to ride on. After a time he indicated that Natasha's interpreting skills were needed. We met the man from FKK and asked if we could have a refund of the loading fee as we were riding the bikes on. A big smile and a firm NO you should have told me first.
With the bikes tucked away, miraculously the clock indicated Beer O'clock.
The afternoon drifted by and eventually the RUS moved away from the dock.
The journey was not quite the cruise in luxury suggested by the BIS website.
The food was plentiful, the beer, not particularly cheap.
At a blistering 13 kt we ploughed through a moderate swell.
Arrival in Vladivostok 20-22 July
The ship eventually drifted into port. We were advised to establish a bridgehead by bringing our luggage up before breakfast.
(Semolina and sausage!)
Disembarkation was slow and progress made slower because the gangway is narrow, with people trying to race up and down with tyres, front wings for cars and the like. Immigration was painfully slow, about 10 minutes per victim. Then it turned out that the immigration officer's husband was a stomatologist (dentist) and I think we might have ended up being invited for tea!
We dragged ourselves through the first tier of customs officers without so much as a blink.
Information was sparse as to the process for collecting the bike.
We were instructed to be at the port Authority Customs Office at 09.00 next morning. A long-ish but cheap taxi ride in what had become steady rain worked well. It was a torrent by the time we arrived.
Natasha, (fluent, native Russian speaker) thrust herself into the fray. After 30 minutes she came back looking dispirited.
It seems that the panniers and luggage on the bike would need separate Customs clearance. The procedure should have been
1) write an application asking Customs to allow temporary import of the bike & make inspection of the luggage.
2) have the application signed by three different Customs officials in three different offices
3) have the luggage & bike inspected at the port and document the contents of panniers
4) to wait for the documents describing the bike & the luggage to be produced
5) get insurance and a certificate to enable the bike to be used. (1200 RuR for two months compulsory
6) get photo copies of all the documents so far.
7) wait for the inventory prepared by the shipping company to be delivered back to customs (around 16.00)
8) Get in the queue so that your documentation can be compared to that of the ship's manifest.
9) Sign several times on various documents, and collect several more stamps.
10) Receive the certificate of importation.
11) TREASURE IT
12) Get yourself down to the Ferry Station and pay the import charges for storage (approx £70)
13) Find your way to the storage facility.
14) Wait while copies are taken of the certificate of importation.
15) Collect your bike from among all the others
16) ride back to the hotel in pouring rain (optional)
17) have a beer.
So do-able if your wife is a fluent Russian speaker.
But do not despair, Vadim who is an importer himself becomes involved and helps people who are not as lucky.
Natasha helped another couple who had a problem with the Japanese documentation for the bike they are planning on riding back to Europe.
We did receive help from others importing vehicles, including a ride back to the port (3km) with a chap who must have taken pity on our bedraggled appearances and the fact that at least someone spoke Russian.
Presently we are waiting for the rain to abate just a little.
Tomorrow we get booted out of our room anyway so perhaps then next phase will be a bit damp....
We stayed for another day and did a bit of sightseeing
including the former submarine.
Posted by Brendon Ball at July 30, 2008 06:26 AM GMT