We arrived bright and brisk at the port this morning but also full of trepidation, as we’d received a phone call from the Greek Ministry of Agriculture during breakfast. They explained that because Greece doesn’t recognise the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus as a country, we can’t export pets from there. Hmmm, we thought we’d got past this hurdle last year!

This trip, instead of dashing through mainland Greece and straight on to Italy, we need to do a bit of Greek island-hopping. Having sent all our paperwork off for checking, we’d heard nothing.

But at the last minute we’ve been offered help from two vets on the Turkish mainland, one of whom will meet us at Tasucu and oversee our progress through the port.

So while we’re on board the ferry, we’ll write up a new set of paperwork using Turkish Annexe 2 certificates to the EU. Tomorrow we’ll meet the Turkish vet who’ll see the dogs, finalise the paperwork, and then accompany us to the Turkish Government veterinary office to get everything stamped.

We were met at the port by the ever-efficient Mustafa who dashed off with our file under his arm, only to return two minutes later wanting to know where our export certificates were. It turns out that, although theoretically we don't need these certificates, because we have a van, we do. So Mustafa set off for Lefkosia for the new export papers.

We were met at the port by the ever-efficient Mustafa who dashed off with our file under his arm, only to return two minutes later wanting to know where our export certificates were. It turns out that, although theoretically we don’t need these certificates, because we have a van, we do. So Mustafa set off for Lefkosia for the new export papers.

Checking the dogs' microchips numbers — always a bit nail-biting in case even a single digit is wrong

Checking the dogs’ microchips numbers — always a bit nail-biting in case even a single digit is wrong

Courier M and Margaret from KAR double-checking

Courier M and Margaret from KAR double-checking

Margaret triple-checking against the paperwork

Margaret triple-checking against the paperwork

Mustafa with Gulcan, a very kind and helpful customs officer at the port

Mustafa with Gulcan, a very kind and helpful customs officer at the port

Jasper on board the van, giving us a broad smile

Jasper on board the van, giving us a broad smile

Roxy is a contender for the longest tongue competition

Roxy is a contender for the longest tongue competition

The ferry's technical services team fixing the hydraulic lift with a sledgehammer. Goodness knows how the other vehicles got up to the deck above!

The ferry’s technical services team fixing the hydraulic lift with a sledgehammer. Goodness knows how the other vehicles got up to the deck above!

The repair worked and we were lifted to the upper deck

The repair worked and we were lifted to the upper deck

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