Vladivostok to Fushiki Japan

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Finally the Ferry had set sail for Japan and we actually made it onto the boat.. two hobo riders actually got let out of Russia.. wow we are impressed.. haha.. we thought it was some sort of trick to keep us there.. In all honesty Russia has been one of the highlights and we will surely miss it. The dramas of getting a bike with 5 punctures to the port was enough fun but all up it made it and we are glad for that. On the other hand its great to be back on the road or in this case the sea again and moving ever closer to our final destination.

The ferry Journey was scheduled to leave at 9pm but boarding was meant to be at noon, in the end boarding was actually closer to 2pm and we set sail at around 4pm. Just in time to leave the port with the sun setting in the background which gave us the perfect opportunity to take loads of photo’s of the snow covered islands as we mad our way out through the shipping channels. On board with us were the Japanese group who we had been meeting up with regularly since Mongolia and all was smooth sailing.. that was until we left the security of the harbour and the islands. The wind picked up and started to get a little rough.. the journey was scheduled to take around 36 hours so we should arrive in Fushiki Japan around 10am leaving us the whole day to clear customs.

The journey itself was pretty uneventful however what we thought was a rough sea going trip was actually seen by many of the other passengers who traveled the route regularly as being smooth.. ouch! I guess we just need to work on our sea legs.. or better yet just keep our land legs.. After struggling to keep ourselves entertained on a pretty quiet cruise we woke early to see land.. finally we had made it to Japan and the weather was beautiful and warm.. just what we needed. After breakfast we went down to our cabin to have our inspection by Japanese Customs. It was then that we found out that there was a Holiday in Japan and we wouldn’t be able to take our bikes off the boat until the following day.. not to worry we managed to stay on the boat for an additional night for $20US per person. When we booked the additional night we asked if there was food and we got told yes.. what they really mean is that its $20 for the cabin and then you have to pay extra for the food that is available.. the complete opposite to what we had done previously on the boat (cabin and food inclusive)… given that they wanted $9 per person per meal we decided against eating any of their high quality cooked cardboard and got some sushi from outside the port… Still we had to conserve our money as we only had $100USD in Yen and we had to buy insurance etc for our bikes.

The following day we got driven from the port to the local JAF office where they had to verify that our import permits (carnets) were authentic. We then had to go back and get them approved by the Japanese Customs Authority. From there we had to buy insurance and finally get the bikes off the boat and out of the port. The bad news was that Heathers bike tyre had gone flat again while on the journey and we needed to take her bike wheel off and take it to the service station to get pumped up again. While we waited in the port we had decided that we would go into the nearest big town of Toyama and look to get the bike Tyre repaired.

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