The life of a passenger: riding the ferry

Getting on the ferry

When I arrived, another R1200GS was in the parking are, which I was directed to as a motorcycle rider. Later, s a full Touratech ADV advertising machine arrived. It turned out that we all would meet again at the Saharacamp, we had only planned different routes to get there. In fact the rider of the Touratech monster was none other than the organiser of the SaharaCamp himself.
In total, there were only 4 bikes, as a bit later a KTM joined us. As a compensation, the entire convoy of the rally of Gazelles was on board. A colorful, impressive array of different desert-proof jeeps, the support trucks and the medientross. An estimated 150+ vehicles that passed us 4 moped drivers by, before we could get on board.

Yes, you do not go first on the ferry as a motorcycle rider – you go there last. The loading started at 20:00 and at 11:30 I was in my cabin. We were standing in the drizzling rain for three hours, while the column of jeeps drove slowly, so slowly, on board.
Sleep is not coming by the easy way – the sea is quite rough, and I’m not used to rolling back and forth in bed by myself. Plus there are regular loudspeaker announcements until 2:00 which always wake me up.
The food is the worst I ever had to pay for. It is not disgusting, but just bland and cold. Coffee on the other side is good and relatively cheap. For breakfast around 8:30 there should actually be rolls, cheese and various croissants, but the very early have everything eaten up – for me there were only nougatcroissants left …
On board there is very little support or information. French knowledge is of considerable advantage since nobody speaks English. Just Italian or French.
You have to listen to the on board announcements, as it is otherwise unclear where and when the immigration formalities are going to be dealt with.
During this trip, it started  9:00 am for Nador, I recommend either coming very early or very late.
No numbers are drawn, there is no import form for cars anymore. One turns right, fills out the entry form while waiting, shows the passport and form, gets 2 stamps, and the form is gone
Then turn to the left, I had a printout of the customs form. You show the vehicle license and passport, green insurance card, and if everything is OK, the official would print out the form. I also had to submit everything, I think printing the form in advance might have safed me 30seconds, so it is not really worth doing.
The whole procedure took almost 2 hours, I was there around 9:45. An acquaintance did this directly at 9:10 and only had to wait for 45min. The queue was, for me, at least twice as long. I think from 10:30 on you wait at least 3 hours. I was there accidentally again just before the closing time, and then it was almost empty. This would of course be risky, so I would recommend attempting this in the early  morning.
It is now around 6 o’clock in the evening and so far I have no idea at what time we disembark in Nador. Possible rumors are circulating: 6:00 – 8:00 – 9:30. Let’s see.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *