July 11, 2009

La Barca de Guaymas

Esperando was ratting around Mexico City for meetings and decided to fly to Guaymas and spend the night coming home on the Ferry instead of flying. I received this missive from him this morning describing his trip by boat ferry from Guaymas to Santa Rosalia yesterday.


Since many of you have expressed concern over my decision to take the ferry from Guaymas to Santa Rosalia I would like to take a moment to tell you how it went. First of all I survived the ordeal and am here, save and sound, in Santa Rosalia. Secondly I would say the voyage is not much different than a typical ride in a cross country bus in Mexico, which I have done to La Paz and Tijuana a few times.

I took the AeroMexico flight from Mexico City which arrived in Hermosillo about 4:30 pm. I arrived at the Hermosillo airport and got a bus to Guaymas. There are at least two bus companies doing this and they leave from the airport. The bus left within 15 minutes and the ride to Guaymas was 1.5 hours with no intermediate stops. At the bus terminal in Guaymas I had to take a taxi to the Ferry terminal. No problem as there are many taxis at the bus terminal.

I arrived at the Ferry Terminal about an hour before the Ferry was to leave which was scheduled for 8pm. There is a two hour time difference between Mexico City and Guaymas. I had a first class ticket which had been prepaid so I got my boleta at the entrance to the ferry terminal and then proceeded to the waiting area. All the passengers and their luggage were inspected by the Armada (Navy) and their drug dogs before entering the Ferry. All the passengers entered at 8pm and they began boarding the freight which consisted of two large (18 wheeler) trucks, a long straight truck and a car. I think there might have been room for another car. It was amazing that they got all this onboard.

I was the only Gringo on the ship. Actually I had not seen another Gringo since I left Mexico City, including the plane flight to Hermosillo. I think all the turistas have been scared off with the Influenza Porcina. I went to my First Class Cabin which had been pre-arranged. It consisted of a double row of 14 seats in an air-conditioned area. I was the only person in this salon. When I got there the air conditioner had been turned off and it took a while to cool off the area once turned on again. I have to tell you it is really hot in Hermosillo. Probably just as hot and humid as Santa Rosalia but somehow since it is “over there” it seems much hotter.

There were staterooms “camarotes” available which hold about four people that allow you to stretch out in a private bed. Only one of them was occupied and they looked comfortable. They have air conditioning and are only 100 pesos more. I would try and reserve one of them next time and hope no one would want to stay with me.

At any rate the ferry finally left and the air conditioner took control of the salon and I had an eight hour trip not much different from a cross country bus ride or tourist class on an airplane. The motion of the ship and the minor noise of the engines was quite relaxing. There was a “Puente Capitan” or Capitan’s Bridge just outside of the First Class Salon and I went there various times during the night. Unfortunately it was either totally dark, no moon, or overcast so I couldn’t see the stars so the voyage was not as romantic (even though I was by myself) as I had hoped. We seemed to slow down for quite a while near Santa Rosalia as I think they can not enter in the dark. We entered the harbor and docked about 630 am. The Capitan is very skilled in docking this vessel without tugboats or modern gadgets such as side thrusters. I think this Ferry is from somewhere in Scandanivia judging from the labels on the electrical equipment and probably quite old. I have been told that it is a lake ferry, not ocean going which is why they will not go when it is windy in the winter.

We docked and the freight (trucks) were disembarked before they would let the passengers leave. Upon disembarkation we passengers were presented to the Armada for a luggage inspection then to an entirely new group of inspectors before we could enter the country. This was the most rigorous inspection I have encountered in Mexico and it seemed like the Cachanillas (residents of Santa Rosalia) do not want the Chilangos (Mainland Mexicans) entering their territory. I would say this was a good experience and I am likely to repeat it. I don’t recommend it for people who have big expectations. Like I say, if you have been on a cross country bus trip in Mexico this is not much different.”

The ferry schedule can be found here.

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