13 August, 2012

Day 36, 182km (+480km): I'm on a boat

Woke up from my day of rest in Cabo San Lucas. The place was a pretty "standard" seaside resort, complete with its marina, bars and restaurants and its tourist crowd. In fact these places are so "standard" that it really makes me wonder why people would travel 5,000 or 10,000km to end up in a resort that could be anywhere in Italy, Florida or Mexico. A form of comfort probably, the comfort of knowing you won't be surprised and everything will be as usual. Why not, I guess the expectations are reasonable and there's good money to be made for the hosting party.

So anyway, I set-off to go back from La Paz and catch my ferry to Mexico's "mainland", arriving in Mazatlan. That'd be a 480km boat journey, taking around 19 hours.

A bar in Todos los Santos, Baja California Sur
Sorry Francky, the occasion couldn't be missed. Plus the bar's name is "Frank" without a C so you could say it has nothing to do with you. Still a cool name, isn't it? :)

The ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan
I arrived at the ferry on time (i.e. 3H before departure) and thought there would be some kind of paperwork to do but all I had to do was wait, basically. For those who intend to do the journey on a bike, you'll need to have the temporary import permit (which you get in exchange for a deposit of 600-200 USD depending on your bike's age). No permit, no boardingo senor.

Sheltered from the heat, waiting to board the boat
While waiting for boarding, a bicycle rider parked next to me. I saw him on the way and it was cool knowing he'd be on the boat. I thought the ferry would be full of Mexican and foreign tourists but it was in fact mostly trucks and maybe half a dozen cars. So meeting Amaury (his website) changed what would have been a 20H ordeal with Mexican truck drivers into a nice journey talking about Mexico and travelling in general. 
He's travelling from Los Angeles to Ushuaia on his bicycle, that's brave. Going through Baja on a motorcycle wasn't the funniest experience so I can't imagine what it's been on a bicycle. Good luck Amaury, be safe!

The bike actually told me "I'm on a boat mother*****"
It being 35 degrees outside, the atmosphere inside the lowest cargo deck of the boat was akin to that of a sauna. It stayed maybe 20 minutes to strap and unload the bike and came up to the passenger deck praying I'd have a comfortable place to stay for the next 20H.
Booking I wasn't entirely sure whether I would have a cabin, share a cabin with other people or simply have no cabin at all. Mostly because I didn't understand much of what the lady at the Baja Ferries counter told me.

Therefore this came as an excellent surprise
3 beds, a clean place with air-con and even a washbasin. I didn't except that nice of a place! The boat is actually a former SNCM ferry, with lots of signs and notices still in French. So I got to do a La Paz - Mazatlan and Nice - Ajaccio in the same time. Pretty cool! They also served diner and breakfast so the journey was a nice surprise.
Invited Amaury to share the cabin, I was impressed at how light he's travelling. So this means I can travel lighter than I currently do! Got me thinking I might drop some stuff at my brother's place in Mexico.

Off we go
The crossing of the Gulf of California was very quiet and the boat wasn't moving much. Went on the outside deck for a beer once the night fell and the view of the night sky was impressive. We could clearly make out the Milky Way and an impressive number of stars. Its probably even more impressive in the middle of the desert since I think our eyes must have trouble "locking" onto the stars with the boat moving so we probably get a reduced brightness overall (this is pure speculation from my part). Tried to take a photo but obviously not much showed up.

So for today the total was 182km on the road and the boat crossing of 480km. Not sure how you will tally this Gregory! Allow me to share your "monitoring" chart with everyone ;-)

The average might be off
So that was it for the day, went to sleep in my cabin, to wake up the next day in Mazatlan!

Cheers,
Guillaume

PS: Sorry anonymous for leaving you for so long without anything to read!

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