On Wednesday, March 18th we arrived at the port for Baja Ferries around 1:15 pm. We had already purchased our tickets to make sure we received the correct rate. As I explained in the last post, Alejandro helped us so much in convincing the office of our proper vehicle class, saving us hundreds of dollars. The woman at the window explained that as a passenger I would wait over to the left and Eric would drive the truck onto the boat to the right. We made a plan that if one person was to somehow miss the boat, wait in Mazatlán. Back-up plans are always safe.
It wasn’t too long until I saw Pedro board the ferry and pop out on the top deck. I boarded along with the other passengers and met Eric at our seats. We truly had no idea what to expect of the ferry and prepared for the worst. Even though we doubted the woman who we purchased our tickets from when she said, “it’s like going to the movies”, that turned out to be true. Our assigned seats were high back, super reclining chairs with a large screen in the front, playing family friendly movies in Spanish with English subtitles. The other half of the passenger level was cafeteria style with tables and booths and an area where they would serve our two provided meals, dinner and breakfast.
We were able to head up to the top deck and watch as Mazatlán and the coast faded away, ordered a few pacifico lights and tried to watch Willy Wonka in Spanish. Dinner was simple and better that you would expect for a ferry meal. It is hard to really mess up beans, rice, and tortillas. By the time dinner was over someone had found our seats as their new nap zone. We talked to the guy who managed the passenger level and he brought us down to a smaller theatre room. This room was key to enjoying the trip. With about only 9 other people who wanted quiet and sleep in a room that would fit 25, we had room to stretch out across three chairs and read, watch a Spanish film and, luckily, sleep through the night.
The morning went quickly as we could already see the coast when we woke up. Breakfast was on par with the quality of dinner and huevos y jamon and chilaquiles were served. Eric befriended another passenger and explained that we didn’t know the drill about disembarking, so he came to get Eric when it was time to head to the cars. I followed the crowd out of the boat same as before. We had the assumption that once off the boat I could jump into the car with Eric, however, they said no and made me get on a bus. We both ended up going through a separate custom process. I was asked for my passport, which I had left in the car and showed only the paper copy. They seemed wary but nothing came of it. Eric later explained that he had to pay an additional fee and they sprayed the car with a chemical to prevent weeds, it was not optional no matter how much he argued. Once out of the main ferry building in La Paz there wasn’t a clear waiting area or signage to show where the cars would be meeting up with the passengers. Mild panic on my end turned into a lesson on patience and how many different ways I could ask if I was really in the right spot to wait. Eric pulled around the corner a little over an hour later. We exchanged little smiles of relief that we had found each other again and headed out for our time on the Baja.