Even though we arrived ridiculously early (4 hours) for our ferry ride to Mazatlán, the air conditioned ticket office was already full of truck drivers, so we bought our tickets and drove to the loading area. We watched some exterior ferry repair work with questionable fall protection procedures (Scott and I are trained, so we know what we're talking about here ;) and waited it out in the heat. We were the third vehicle loaded, so we got to watch the whole procedure for packing in the big rigs. The ferry crews definitely have it down - there wasn't a spare inch between any of the trucks. We ate dinner onboard with a Canadian-German couple headed to Nicaragua in their RV (who had many of the same thoughts we did about the roughest stretches of the Mex 1 highway through Baja), enjoyed the sunset, and retired to our cabin (aka the van) for a restless night. The low hum of the ferry engines and the slow rocking weren't bad, but the occasional starting of any one of the rigs around us was enough to wake us up (especially knowing they were doing so to run their air conditioning). In the morning, we got a close-up view of another impressive operation - a tugboat flipping our ferry around into the port. The tug operator, in a tank top and flip-flops in his captain's seat, nudged our much larger ship neatly into place and tooted his horn when we shot him a thumbs-up. It was another 45 minutes before we drove off the boat, but during that time we met ferry worker Marcelo. He's a Mazatlán native and was so excited we were visiting his city. He also happened to have spent 12 years living in Manatee County, FL (near where Scott is from)! He would have loved to stay in Florida (where both his children were born), but couldn't get his visa extended any longer. He told us he was especially happy that day (after we commented that he seemed a very happy guy) because it was his last day of work before spending a month at home with his family. When we saw him later with his son, his grin had gotten impossibly bigger than when we were talking to him. It was so great to have an actual conversation with a local! Hopefully our Spanish will improve so we don't have to rely on the English skills of others to do so as we keep traveling.
Miles traveled: 254
Miles driven: 0
Hours onboard ferry: 20
Hours of sleep: <4
Next up, mainland Mexico! (Really.)