Surviving the Topolobampo Ferry

“Oh no! They cancelled our ferry!” Matt exclaims a few days before we are supposed to depart. After a somewhat challenging phone call to Baja Ferries conducted in Spanish, Matt says they are cancelling all the ferries to Mazatlan so we will have to take the one to Topolobampo.

“Topolobampo! That’s the ferry the Australian surfers took a few months ago. It gets in at 9pm, and that is why they were driving at night when they got killed!” I don’t really think we will meet the same fate, but it makes me feel uneasy.

“Well, it’s our only option. We have to make it to Sayulita to meet Amy. We will have to drive farther, but at least it will be a shorter ferry ride and cheaper.”

A few days later we are finally ready to go to the ferry. The boys have been looking forward to this for the whole trip, but I’m not so sure. We have to be there 3 hours before sailing. Matt will drop me and the kids off and then stay with the car and the trailer until he drives them on. I have a backpack full of toys, blankets, water, snacks, my computer with a video for the kids, my power cord, water and one beer. It weighs about 40 pounds. Of course Rylan falls asleep on the way there, so I have to carry his forty pounds into the terminal in addition to the backpack.

We get in the terminal and find out we have to wait an hour before they start boarding. Rylan wakes up and (surprise!) the boys are hungry. They eat their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watch the other kids in the terminal. I notice there are “no food or beverage” signs on the door to the ferry and I start to worry that they might take my water away like on an airplane. So I drink all my water, and get the kids to drink some of theirs. Then I worry they will take my beer, so I drink that too. Then I have to go to the restroom, so I take the kids and all of our stuff into the restrooms. I am trying to help Graysen go potty and keep Rylan from crawling on the floor.

Finally it is time to start boarding. We stand in line and wait for our turn to push the button. If it is red you get searched, if it is green you go through. I watch everyone in front of us get a green light, and I have a bad feeling. Sure enough, we get red. The guy searches through my backpack, but he doesn’t seem to care about the snacks and I’m thankful I already drank my beer.

We finally get on the boat and we explore all the floors. We have assigned seats in the movie room, but the lounge looks more comfortable. We are up on a deck checking out where the r-pod is parked when we run into Matt. I am so happy to see him!

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We set up on a bench in the lounge and have some more lunch. It is 2pm and time for the kids’ nap. They are playing Mexican rock music way too loud but somehow the boys sleep. We have to leave the lounge when they begin the “entertainment,” which is a woman singing karaoke. We find the dining hall nice and quiet. Apparently we have missed the free meal, which began at 2pm. They have some “snacks” for purchase.

We play some games and then wander out to the front deck to get some air. It is so windy, we can barely stand up. Rylan looses his crock and it almost blows away. The kids start crying and we go back inside immediately. We try the back deck. The waves are rocking us so it is difficult to walk straight and I’m starting to feel a little woozy.

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After the sun sets, we go back inside and order some French fries and nachos. They are terrible, but warm. After dinner, Graysen complains that his tummy hurts too. “I think I’m going to throw up, mama.”

I go to the people working at the snack bar and ask them for “Una bolsa para…” I don’t know the Spanish words for “throw-up” so I make the motion. They get the drift. Graysen feels better after he looses his dinner, so we head up to the movie room and put on Finding Nemo for them. It is stuffy and a bit stinky in the movie room, but the chairs are comfortable and I am happy to relax. The boys are excited to watch a movie.

When the ship starts slowing down to dock around 9pm we are all ready for get off. I am so thankful we don’t have to spend the night on the boat like we would if we had to go to Mazatlan.

It is anther hour before I finally get off the ship with the boys and then we have to wait for Matt, who is one of the last cars off the boat. He stops to ask if we can park in the parking lot for the night and almost gets run over by the truck drivers trying to get the cargo off. We finally find a guy who shows us where we can park. It’s not ideal, but it will work for the night. We are thankful to be safe and sound and on solid ground!

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