August 10, 2012
We are about 360 Kilometers to the Pacific Ocean. The road to Vanino is a mess but the scenery is quite spectacular. The road follows a major river, which we have to cross many times on top of insane bridges. It rains all day, which makes it a challenging ride for all of us. I don’t even want to mention the times our bikes were dropped. On a particular bridge Akira takes a harder hit than usual but fortunately it did not hurt himself. I was riding far behind him and saw the crash. Sorry to say that from my point of view it was quite funny but at the same time it could have been much more serious. He was sliding across the wet bridge and could have fallen below in the freezing waters with big rocks pointing out. Arriving to Vanino we are all enthusiastic to finally see the Pacific Ocean. We try to make it to the port in a hurry to see if we have a boat to take us to the island of Sakhalin. An 18 hours crossing across the Sea of Japan. At the port, the president of the local motorcycle club ” The Black Unicorns” was waiting for us. He saw us on the news the night before. Matteo is starting to like being famous and enjoys having his picture taken every chance he gets. With the president’s help we understand that we have a boat departing at 10 o’clock the same evening but it is not sure that we are allowed on it. The captain has already signed all cargo documents and we may not be able to load our bikes on the boat. The president of the club invites us to the club “headquarters” where he says we would be welcome to stay if not able to board the boat that evening. We all wanted to make the boat but it was something that we did not have control over it. We all went to the club and waited for the phone call of the Captain whether he would allow us on the boat that evening. The good news arrived a couple of ours later. We were all relaxing at the club when a telephone call from the port told us that we had to be there by 9.00PM in order to board the boat that was supposed to leave at 10.00P.M. All the members of the club escorted us back to the port. Matteo and myself were laughing hysterically under our helmets. The boat left at 4.00 A.M. The wait was very long and we started imagining what would have been like being in this port 30 years ago during the Soviet regime. Also we were pretty tired and started making poor jokes among us and teaching Akira some words in Italian. What a funny disaster. Finally after waiting for hours we are ready to board the ferry. Remember the boat we took from Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan? That in comparison was a luxury cruise. We were showed what was supposed to be our cabin. It was at the bottom of the boat near the engine room. Impossible for me to sleep there. Really gross. I decided to take my sleeping bag and headed outside on the upper deck.