In the morning, we’re early in the harbor of Aswan. We must handle all the customs formalities, our Carnet de Passage must be stamped correctly, this will take some time, then comes the loading procedure and the captain we need to visit, because of Tara.
Bruce an Anglo-South African, which we have previously met in Aswan observes skeptically the whole action. Formalities take time, and we only continue slowly.
It is already late afternoon by now and we start loading the vehicles. On our barge are two Overlander Trucks, our camper van, Bodo’s Truck and the SUV of Bruce. I wonder if we all fit on it.
The Overlander trucks are the first, they might have rented the barge, next is Bodo’s turn.
Bruce is still ahead of us in line, we are the last, an impenetrable system. Vehicles must be arbitrated. Even when buying the tickets in Aswan Mr. Salah from the ferry company had to measure the vehicles as every inch matters. At the first sight of the barge I am full with horror, the loading bay is in a memorable bad condition, even the barge itself makes no safe impression on me, I wish I could turn back now, but it’s too late, our vehicles have left the country officially.
All come running to see the spectacle of loading. It is truly a spectacle, because one has the impression that the sailors are not sure of what they are doing, because it is much debated. The Overlander Truck must return again and has to embarque the barge in a different angle.
Miraculously, it is finally at the barge, here many things happen Inshala, Allah will sort things out.
I insist to embarque the barge in reverse, so that the sliding door is facing the ship’s center. After much discussion, I can finally prevail only with threats. The mood is tense. They do not understand that the sliding door can not directly open to the water, otherwise when our dog gets out and in, there is the risk that she falls into the lake. I have to chain our dog to the car, because Tara must be able to get inside the car during night as they are pretty cold and must be able to get under the car to be protected from the heat of day.
The loading dock is unbelievable. It would have been possible to buy for little money two regular wooden ramps. But the operator does not seem interested and promptly the ramp breaks while I drive over it. The result is that the frame of our camper van is damaged. No compensation of course.
After much tinkering and getting other creative tools, it is possible eventually to bring the vehicle onto the barge, now it has only be brought into position.
The parking is precision work and it gets pretty tight on the boat. I have the impression that the vehicle widths were not calculated.
The drivers of the Overlander trucks have simply disappeared, so the trucks can not be moved, too bad for us and so it is much harder with the shipment.
Finally, I am standing in the parking position. Tara needs to be supplied with food and water, sliding door opened, the promised supervisor did not appear, so I ask the captain to give attention to the dog, luckily he is related with Ashraf.
Bodo finally came as the last on the barge, he hangs over a little with his back, stones are put behind the wheels so that it does not roll off the barge when heavy waves.
The wall is wound up, and the pontoon sets off. I have a bad feeling, I’m very concerned about Tara, will she survive the two days, will the captain really feed her, I am waving her goodbye. Bodo is concerned about the cat. It must stay in the car, locked, windows can be opened only a crack, otherwise the cat escapes, we hope that it is not too hot in the truck.