(January 3 – written by Dave)
We have arrived in Mazatlan! The ferry was just fine. We boarded around 6PM. The ferry appeared to be packed. It looked like there were several tour groups, so it’s not surprising that we couldn’t get a cabin (Senior editor’s note – hmmm, maybe there would have been a cabin back in November when we bought the tickets…).
We were asked to board through the passenger queue which was all good until we got the X-ray machine. Even though we were in a big queue of people and there was only one queue, they insisted that we take all of our bags off the bikes and put them through the machine. We have 6 bags on each bike, plus small backpacks and our helmets. Yes, it took us quite a while to get things off and back on the bikes. Then we pushed the bikes straight through the metal detectors (yes they triggered, but no one did anything) – not sure what they are looking for. Everyone behind us seemed to take our clogging things up in stride – which was nice.
Back when I was flying a lot, I used to get annoyed at airport security screenings when it was obvious that people had not thought in advance about getting through security. Well, we’re even now – Nancy and I are now the new world record holders for slow security clearing.
The boat was not scheduled to leave until 8PM but we headed straight for the top deck to scope out the best tent locations. We found a spot under a stairway, down by the animal kennels. The tent just fit without blocking the walkway so we set it up right away. Within minutes several crew members walked past – it’s Mexico – no one batted an eye at us or the tent. A couple other English speakers asked us where you could put up a tent. We just told them to put theirs up wherever they wanted – no one seemed to care.
I rolled the dice and ate in the cafeteria for dinner – it was free with the price of ticket. Nancy decided that Dramamine and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was a safer option so she stayed with the tent. My meal was ok, not 5 star but they did a pretty good job considering that they have to feed 500 people. Everything sort gets evened out to one flavour – bland.
We were in the tent and pretty much out for the count by the time that the ferry pulled away from the dock at 8PM. I wouldn’t say that either of us slept well – both waking up every hour or so – but it was not until 6:30 that we got up for good so overall, we killed a good deal of the voyage by sleeping. I got up at 10PM and had a look at the stars -we had a full moon and mostly calm seas. I was pretty happy that we were on the deck. Inside the ferry looked like an emergency shelter in a hurricane – bodies and blankets everywhere – with all the lights on because someone is bound to get up at some point.
This morning we packed the tent up and went in to try complimentary breakfast. This turned out to be a coffee with powered creamer and a plastic sweet roll. Good thing we had our goodie bag from Dolce Romero.
They let us into the car deck early so that we get out bikes re-packed. We were off the ferry by 9AM and heading into the city. Our hotel was only a few K from the boat but we took the long-cut around the point and waterfront where we found a great cafe to have a real brekkie and kill some time. The place and waterfront was packed for a Wednesday. Lots of gringos and a mix of locals.
The ride to the hotel was only about 5 minutes right though old town Mazatlan. Lots of great looking old buildings and heaps of colour. We’ll give you more of a look at this in a subsequent post.
When we pulled up at the hotel, I realized that I left our spare tires on the ferry. I figured that we would need the next two days running between bike shops to find replacements but then Nancy came up with a good idea to go back to the ferry and see if they had lost and found. Great idea. I took a cab back to the ferry and basically walked right back on the ferry, and there they were – right where I had left them. So, tires retrieved – phew! I had to go through a couple “guards with M16” points but no one seemed to care until I got on the boat and only then it was someone trying to help me, rather than stop me. Oh well, it worked out.
We are now ensconced in our lovely hotel and thinking about a nap before dinner. We are both a little tired. Nancy has taken off her seasick wrist bands – happy that the ferry was so easy. More later on Mazatlan – so far it looks like a colourful and interesting city.