Safely back in North Cyprus with our seven passengers

Safely back in North Cyprus with our seven passengers

We eventually boarded the midnight ferry from the Turkish port of Tasucu, bound for Girne in North Cyprus, and it eventually left sometime after 3.00 this morning. The captain of the ferry turned out to be a dog lover, and kindly made sure we had a position on the top deck so that we could open up the doors so that the dogs had a refreshing breeze.

The dogs are all well, if a little bored by now, and all have behaved impeccably. A credit to their owners!

As usual with this ferry journey there was a great deal of confusion and running about at the Turkish end. Everyone at the port seemed to be aware of our story, and we were approached by several truckers who wanted to express sympathy, even with very little English. We were very touched.

A Turkish agent was supposed to be arranging all our departure procedures as the situation was a bit odd. Unfortunately he didn’t seem to be around. Earlier in the evening we’d gone into town to check the exit procedure, only to find all the offices were shut. At 11.00pm, with the manifest list closing at midnight, we were wondering why no one had spoken to us. After frantic enquiries and numerous phone calls, seven(!) guys appeared. (They do everything in groups, clearly unable to make a decision without a bunch of mates around.) “Passports,” they said, so we handed them over. Then they came back. “Car papers,” they said, so we parted with those.

By 1.00am nothing more had happened, so we approached the guy loading the ship we were due to sail on. He made a phone call, two more guys appeared, and we suddenly found ourselves being bundled into a car to be whisked off into the centre of Tasucu.

As the car sped off we suddenly realised we didn’t appear to have a driver! It turned out we were being driven by a tiny man who must have looking through, rather than over, the steering wheel. He started nattering away in Turkish with his eyes mostly on us instead of on the road.

Clearly, he was lecturing us on his interpretation of the rules governing the transport of dogs in Turkey, but we have no idea if he was right or wrong. However, enough was enough, so courier M gave him a bit of advice about looking where he was going. We hadn’t just sat in Tasucu port for 72 hours only to get wiped out in a car driven by a loquacious homunculus!

On reflection, we think he probably meant well, and he certainly managed to hustle a sleepy policeman into leaving his tea and the telly to stamp our passports.

Stamping our passports involved opening up a cubicle, unlocking a drawer to locate the precious stamp and check the date, only to find there was no ink. So we waited while the policeman reversed the process and we all trotted off to another office. No ink there either, so off to a store cupboard and hey presto! a red ink pad. All this while our boat was loading some two miles away with our van waiting at the port.

At 1.45am we made it back to the port and were second to last to get on board!

Now we’re back in North Cyprus and the dogs are back with their owners. Couriers J and M are off in search of showers, coffee, beds and a washing machine! Then, after a deep breath, it’s time to formulate plan B (or is it C or D by now?) to get these seven dogs safely to UK.

Our top-deck position, with a refreshing sea breeze

Our top-deck position, with a refreshing sea breeze

The welcome party at Girne — that's Margaret and Kim waving

The welcome party at Girne — that’s Margaret and Kim waving

Our agent in North Cyprus, Mustafa, with courier M, starting the process of getting back in

Our agent in North Cyprus, Mustafa, with courier M, starting the process of getting back in

The quarantine officer at Girne reassuring Mustafa that the dogs can be released back to their owners

The quarantine officer at Girne reassuring Mustafa that the dogs can be released back to their owners

No Comments

  1. Sylvia Wredden Jun 10, 2013 at 11:49 am - Reply

    You should write a book! Do hope you manage to get everything sorted for both dogs and owners. A very trying experience for all of you.

    • Animalcouriers Jun 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      We thought about a book before we started blogging and then realised there was so much more to come!

  2. onespoiledcat Jun 10, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    What an incredible transport experience this has been for ALL concerned! We certainly hope that Plan Z (haha) works this time……and again, bravo to the couriers for taking such good care of the situation…….

    Pam and Sam

  3. Emma G Jun 10, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Glad u all made it back safe and sound!!!!

    • Animalcouriers Jun 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      Thanks Emma – it is a relief to be out of no man’s land and planning our next moves!

  4. easyweimaraner Jun 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Wow that sounds really like a modern Odyssee – we hope the next plan will work – Good Luck!

  5. crazytraintotinkytown Jun 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Fantastic news but Turkish bureaucracy at it’s very best methinks

  6. mariavic Jun 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    So very sad that you have had to come up against all these problems..

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:03 am - Reply

      Brings to mind the protest song ‘We shall overcome’ 😉

  7. Anita Woods Jun 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Phew! What a game. Hope the plan comes together.

  8. stanze Jun 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    I bet you weren’t too happy at that time but the description of the car trip with a loquacious homunculus made me laugh. What a great story. Life is sometimes funnier than anything people can invent. And I admire your humour and your even temper.

    • Animalcouriers Jun 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it! We had fun writing about it afterwards but were a little discombobulated while it was going on 😀 You couldn’t make it up.

  9. Penny Patrick Jun 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Having read about your awful experience trying to export the dogs from TRNC via Turkey we are now really worried as we are trying to sell our house and have 4 cats and 4 dogs we need to take with us to UK We thought as I am sure you did that it was all sorted out but we are now concerned We hope you manage to get through at the second attempt – we will be watching with interest Good Luck

    • Animalcouriers Jun 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Penny – we’re not beaten yet! It’s families like yours that need the type of service we provide. Whatever happens this trip, we’ll be talking to all the authorities to try to iron out problems. We’re on a mission!

  10. Gunta Jun 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    What a tempest in a teapot. Then again I think we have some of the same sort of wacky bureaucrats here…. and they are breeding.

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:07 am - Reply

      If we have to follow their interpretation of the rules, so be it but the frustrations are enormous. Petty bureaucrats do tend to breed!

  11. Claire Jun 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    What a nightmare! Well done for keeping your cool and looking after the dogs so well, certainly an experience, somehow thought, having lived in Cyprus for over 10 years, it doesn’t surprise me that much. Good luck with plan F, G, H or whatever stage in the alphabet it has now reached!

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:09 am - Reply

      Thanks Claire! It does rather feel that we’re working our way through the alphabet on this one. Our motto should be: always be prepared, never be surprised.

  12. Sheila Morris Jun 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Double double toil and trouble – such a nightmare. No ink. Perfect. So glad you are back safely and can formulate a new plan.

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:10 am - Reply

      The ink situation rather summed up the whole experience for us!

  13. Maria Liston Jun 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a story. Meanwhile, here in Athens, two cats that I am fostering are waiting to be taken to their forever homes in the UK. But as long as you get here before I have to leave in August, all is well here. I just hope the next plan goes better for you!

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:11 am - Reply

      Thanks Maria! Sorry for the delay but we’ll be with you well before August – we hope 😉

  14. fozziemum Jun 11, 2013 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Plan D for dogs….fingers and paws crossed that you can find a resolution…it is probably easier to all don a jacket and start swimming..glad you are all safe and well though 🙂

  15. Zena Jun 11, 2013 at 5:20 am - Reply

    What a performance! its’ a good thing not every trip is like this, though i’m sure you get your fair share.

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:17 am - Reply

      We really thought we’d got Turkish customs clearance sorted after our previous experiences. We do hope to get to the bottom of it though.

  16. Boomdeeadda Jun 11, 2013 at 5:31 am - Reply

    When you have the most precious thing a person loves in your care, it must be hard to be in these foreign countries with these dilemmas and not worry. Congratulations for leaving Turkey safely.

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:18 am - Reply

      You’re right there. The welfare of the animals always comes first – it’s important to keep them relaxed and entertained. They coped very well.

  17. Curt Mekemson Jun 11, 2013 at 6:15 am - Reply

    What a nightmare. Koodoos to you guys for hanging in there. –Curt

  18. Basil Jun 11, 2013 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Sounds horrid! Suddenly your job doesn’t seem quite as glam! BOL

  19. heretherebespiders Jun 11, 2013 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    “loquacious homunculus” !!! I love it! Glad your exhausted team saved the day in the end!

    • Animalcouriers Jun 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed that as much as we did! The exhausted team are very glad to be back to beds, food and showers and are busy negotiating next steps.

  20. OMG what a time you’ve had! I’m so glad you made it back. I keep thinking what the owners must be thinking and what I (as an owner) would be thinking. You can probably guess once my dogs were safely back with me, I’d be making some Turkish waves. 🙂

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:22 am - Reply

      Indeed. We’re treading softly on this one until we’re through with our charges but will certainly try to get to the bottom of what went wrong with a tried and tested routine.

  21. becomingcliche Jun 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Oh, how frustrating!

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:25 am - Reply

      Yup! Stamping our little feet didn’t do any good. Onwards and upwards…

  22. Nylabluesmum Jun 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Wow what a crazy scenario that was!!! I am ever so relieved all fo you & the 4 leggeds made it out safely. Maybe with the unrest in Turkey things are a bit messed up?? I hope you were far far away from it all…
    Hope all of you get some well deserved rest so you are ready for your next adventure!
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue xo

    • Animalcouriers Jun 12, 2013 at 5:31 am - Reply

      It certainly was crazy. Not sure that the unrest influenced our experience – just unlucky with the people we dealt with and their unpreparedness to listen. Couriers J&M have taken full advantage of the lovely facilities in North Cyprus 😉

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