Catching the ferry

November 23, 2015, Trip: ¡Viva México!
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We now find ourselves on “mainland” Mexico. We know that Baja is not an island just a peninsula, but this is what the main part of Mexico is referred to from the Baja. Our original plan was to go to Mazatlán but we decided we had time and had heard the Copper Canyon is safer than it used to be so we decided to take the famous El Chepe train and see a big chunk of it.  This is supposed to be one of the top ten scenic train rides in the world.

Taking the ferry is sure not like BC Ferries. Fran purchased the tickets while in La Paz at the Baja Ferries main office downtown. Therein starts the first difference. You purchase a ticket for the vehicle and driver and then separate ticket in a separate packet for each additional passenger. Even weirder is that when we got to the ferry terminal, Fran could not board the ferry in the rig with Doug but had to embark as a foot passenger! Another big difference was that your ticket includes a meal on board.

DSC00986 ferry terminal

So we go to the terminal early to use the Wi-Fi for Doug to do some work and then 90 minutes before the scheduled departure time, he had to go to the rig and get in the convoy line to board while Fran had to get in a passenger line to go through “inspection” and to board a shuttle bus.  Just before boarding the boat, we met a Swiss gentleman travelling alone, named Paul.  We spoke with him for a quite a while on board.

Tigger got pulled out of the main line just before entering the ferry due to the jerry cans we carry on the back and got put on an outer deck. This was nice as we could see our rig while onboard. Fran had to wait for the third shuttle bus (they only have one that they shuttle back and forth from the terminal to the boat) and walked on. When you enter you are in a “reception” area and are asked if you want to rent a cabin; when she said she didn’t but was waiting for her husband, Fran was instructed to sit in this area and wait for Doug. When Doug arrived we found a table in the bar area and settled in to watch some shows on the laptop for the six hour duration of the journey.

The scheduled departure time was 2:30. We figured since it’s a midafternoon departure, the meal must be dinner. At 3:30 we were still at the dock and they announced that the cafeteria was closing in ten minutes! So it was lunch we were getting, not dinner! We packed up our stuff and rushed over to the cafeteria where we served two slices of overcooked ham, a scoop of refried beans, a scoop of white rice and three tortillas. Drinks and dessert were not included. We were not overly impressed but it was filling.

DSC00985 Tigger's on board

BTW the announcements were made in both Spanish and English but it always seemed the former was a lot longer and maybe they said more (?).   Anyway, we’d try and catch both but they spoke so quickly it was hard to understand the Spanish. We got the gist for the most part.

The ferry finally left the dock at 3:45 and instead of the six hour ride we were told it would be, they announced it would be seven hours. So instead of landing at 8:30, we were to arrive around 11pm!

Ah, the joys of Mexican time.  😉

We did try and do some walking while on board and met a Canadian couple, Mike & Barb from Thunder Bay.  They are travelling through Mexico using public transport and/or their thumbs!

The ferry is air conditioned and was actually too cool (even for Fran) in both the bar and cafeteria so we moved to the movie room where they were comfy reclining chairs. We had a couple of beers and caught up on some tv shows (we download our fave shows when we get free internet).

Around 10:30 they announced something (this time not in english) and we saw everyone getting up and lining up to leave the boat. We tried to get them to allow Fran to depart in the “driver’s line” with Doug but they were having none of it. So she ended up at the back end of the foot passenger line and Doug was waiting for her outside. This time there was no shuttle service.

We had planned to park for the night near the harbour where we’d heard others had done, but we couldn’t access the road they referred to so we went about 10 km inland and parked in a big empty lot behind a Pemex (gas) station. It was about midnight before we settled in. We were not bothered at all.

Tuesday morning, we went into the city of Los Mochis and found a car wash to get Tigger “desalted” after a few days on the beach and then ran a couple of errands before driving to the town of El Fuerte.

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