After five weeks in Baja Jacqui and I got the itch and decided it was time to continue our journey south. However, that requires taking a ferry. There are currently two ferry options in La Paz: Baja Ferries, which boasts vessels that look reminiscent of small cruise ships, with cabins and accommodations to see you make the journey across the Sea of Cortez in comfort. Then there’s what we took.
We hopped on with TMC ferries. This is a company that definitely is not catering to tourists, and because of that comes at a considerable discount. The ship is just that, a ship. It is a giant steel beast with a mouth that opens to accommodate semi-trucks with their trailers. After driving into the ship there is even a lift to move big rigs up to the top floor.
After a few repeated days of returning and trying to get tickets or a reservation we finally were successful. We lined up to be loaded on the boat while Jacqui and I were brimming with smiles and excitement. High fives, fist bumps and photographs were in order. We requested that we got put on the top floor because we’d heard you can access your car if you park there. We also heard that it’s more comfortable to sleep in your auto than the accommodations that come with TMC.
After we were guided into the ship, up the elevator, and into a spot with only a few inches to spare between all the surrounding truck trailers, we began to doubt if it was possible, or even an intelligent decision, to get back to our Dolphin. So with the newly sown doubt in our hearts we enjoyed our complementary rice, beans, carne and tortilla dinner, then settled into the passenger room. It was a large blank room full of retired airplane seats, a TV on one side, and the lovely fragrance of urine. A few hours in that room had me reinvigorated to reinvestigate how hard it’d really be to get back to our car. I saw that a few other cars were occupied and came to the conclusion…this is Mexico, no one is going to yell at me if I wander onto the deck and crawl into my car.
In the states they would never even allow civilians on this ship. Not that it’s unsafe for voyage in any way, quite the opposite actually. It’s simply that this is not a passenger vessel. This boat was purpose built to haul semi-trucks and workers. To get down to our Dolphin we had to hold the narrow handrails, not fall down the stairwell where the door was left open, squeeze between vehicles and finally crouch under a semi-truck trailer to get in. In the states everything would have been padded, warning signs and no trespassing signs would be everywhere, and every worker would be making sure I didn’t stub my toe and sue the company. Not here, if I tripped and knocked my teeth out, I’d simply be a toothless idiot. If I say so myself… I really quite like it.
Aside from that, disembarking is a rather modest affair. We sat in the Dolphin watching them remove the truck trailers around us, and only vacated the vehicle in fear of getting crushed twice. Then it’s back down the lift, out the security gate and you’re magically in a whole new place. Mazatlan!!