Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ferry to the Mainland of Mexico

We headed to the ferry terminal at noon, as instructed by a ferry employee the previous day.  The ferry wasn't supposed to leave until 4pm, so we were skeptical about getting there so early.  As we suspected, the early arrival was definitely not necessary. We waited around for hours.  Via various Pan-Am overlander blogs, we knew to go with the cheaper trucker ferry (TMC) vs. the cruiseship ferry (Baja Ferries).  TMC is ideal for people in our situation -- those who already have their home with them.  Baja Ferries does not allow access to your vehicle during the ferry trip. TMC does (unofficially). On TMC, the price for the 18-hour ferry was $4600 pesos ($354 USD) - a bargain!!!!  It has been reported that Baja Ferries charges people with truck campers (like ours) more than $1000.

Trucker ferry (TMC) and cruiseship ferry (Baja Ferries)  -- they both float!

We had read on other blogs that we should request to be parked on top (for the open air) and away from the stinky and loud ventilation fans.  We were told by two port workers that we would be parked on top and that they would let us know when we should board.  Since we had arrived so early, we started to get antsy around 2 pm when it seemed like we'd been forgotten.  This wasn't true, as there were many more trucks who just hadn't arrived.  Since we were so antsy, we started up the truck to get close to the loading ramp.  As we drove to the top of the ramp, we quickly realized the only alternative to parking by the ventilation fans was amidst a sea of huge semis (no pun intended).  We were soooo bummed, as we had envisioned parking somewhere that allowed a bit of air circulation.  For the next hour we kicked ourselves for being impatient and not waiting until the end of the loading process.

Slot canyon access to El Tigre
It turns out, we were VERY glad we hadn't waited. Our impatience paid off.  As you can see in the picture below, at the end of the loading process, a truck full of baby goats was parked right where we could've and would've been parked.  These goats screamed (literally) all night.  The smell of their excrement made me gag every time I walked by the truck.

The goat truck was a double-decker.  They were cute, but man, they were loud and very stinky.  We felt so sorry for them.

The ferry ride was fantastic.  We left the port around 5pm and arrived the next morning around 10am.  We watched the sunset from the boat while sipping beers and margaritas straight from our fridge.  Our night of sleep was pretty good considering we were within nose-shot of the goat truck with little ventilation.  We woke up early enough to see the sunrise, and before we knew it, we were docking in Mazatlan.

Surprisingly well-rested at sunrise

We were greeted by some serious heat and humidity in Mazatlan.  It's green and beautiful here on the mainland, but we do miss the desert, especially at night.  Hopefully we'll get used to this jungle-living.

Camping near San Blas at Las Islitas - we were eaten alive by bugs.  Welcome to the jungle.


Anonymous said...

That last picture with your R.V. on the beach is so amazing, you guys are the best.

brydanger said...

Glad to see you made it and dodged the goats!

where are you now? already blow past punta de mita/vallarta or you still around and wanna grab a tequila and taco?


Alex said...

So I just had a last minute dash trying to get on the ferry with my little car (no trailer attached). I just want to put it out there to be seen on the interweb for anybody going overland by compact car, DONT TAKE TMC! By what I thought was an unfortunate delay on a TMC boat, I ended up switching to Baja ferries (because after a long day of immigration errands I wasn't waiting ANOTHER 3 hours). I now realize that Baja ferries is cheaper if you go just with a car and it's much better to be able to walk around, eat on the ship, and even have entertainment at night. So trailers are good for TMC but CAR TRAVELERS SHOULD DEFINITELY GO BY BAJA!