Monday, April 14, 2014

Baja 3 - Afloat

Although we didn't see any signs of whales out of Guerrero Negro, we did see some whales spouting  about a 1/2 mile from shore off of the patio at our hotel this morning.  At least we know the whales are somewhere. 

Our major mission today to is to catch the ferry to Guaymas over on the mainland of Mexico.  The ferry doesn't leave until 8:00 PM and we don't need to be there until 6:00 PM. 

We set out after breakfast (desayuno) to explore as much of the mining operation as we could.   First, a ride up to where Boleo is attempting to restart the old operation. Not a whole lot to see as the site is visible from the road but far enough not to reveal too much. 

A great deal of the original French mining operation remains as largely ruins of what used to be.  Most of this is open and available to explore.  So explore we did.  Being built in the late 1800's to early 1900's it is unclear how it all worked but there is some pretty cool stuff here…. A huge operation at one time. 

Driving around town you see lots of French architecture in the buildings that remain from those days. 

While we were kicking back, just waiting for the ferry to begin loading, we decided to walk down to the ferry terminal to ask if they tied the motorcycles down during the voyage, so they wouldn't fall over.  

The Helmsman for the ferry walked up and we posed the question to him. He assured us they would be tied down and safe. Then, he invited us on to the ship to show us the straps.  We asked and he then proceeded to show us the entire ship from engine room to wheel house and everything in between. 

Way cool! Extremely friendly people.  Other crew members joked with us and even the captain is talkative and friendly. 

It's a small ship.  We had 8 cars and trucks plus our two bikes.  There might be about 30 people on board.  It's about a 10 hour trip across. We wondered how the economics work of taking this vessel, with such a small customer base and making this work?

It was windy last night so the water was pretty rough. The Helmsman showed the log book. They normally cruise about 9.5 knots. Last night, they could only manage 7.8 knots with waves crashing over the bow and passengers loosing their lunch.  Let's hope for smoother sailing tonight. 

It turned out to be a smooth crossing except for one minor hiccup.  About 3:00 AM, the engine shuts down. So do the generators. We're dead in the water. Adrift!

Crew members scrambled down to the engine room to get things fired up again while Peter and I went up on deck to see what was happening. 

We could see some lights in the distance but way too far to row towards, if that was even Guaymas.  

Before too long, the Diesel engines begin to come to life and we get underway once again.  

At that point I went back down below to the passenger area to try to get some more sleep.  I was out until the ship was in the process of docking. 

Peter, I came to find out, headed in a different direction. While stand along side the wheelhouse, watching the sea ahead, our helmsman amigo invited Peter into the wheelhouse for most of the remainder of the voyage.  

Apparently he was issued a pair of binoculars to view the other ships in the area as well as taking a turn at the wheel!  In spite if his efforts, we made it to the correct port!

Security is amazing at both ends of the operation.  It took two hours to go through customs and have all of the vehicles and papers checked. Drug sniffing dogs surveyed each person and piece of luggage to make sure all was good.  Ya'd think that would be good, but no!  We had to go through the same process once we docked but this time two different government entities performed duplicate tasks again checking luggage, papers and sniffing. 

Finally we're allowed to hit the streets of Guaymas.  Off we go for the next phase…

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