Vanlife Diaries: An overnight ferry from La Paz to Mazatlán

We pay the 5,000 pesos and walk back to the van. The grrr of the engine breaks the anticipation filled silence and we make our way to the ferry terminal. It’s 1 pm and the Baja heat has reached the high 30s. We park in the line of lorries that are also waiting for the cargo ferry.

The van doors are swung open in an attempt to maintain some coolness. The dog needs walking but I worry about her in the heat, despite this I take her. She seems OK and is sniffing around at the tires of the lorries.

It’s our turn to drive up the narrow passageway onto the boat. Many many lorries have gone before us and after 3 hours of waiting in the heat, we are eager to be onboard and out of the van.

Our engine sound is replaced by the annoying beeping of reversing trucks and the whirring of the huge fan behind us. I guess the purpose of the fan is to reduce the smell of the fumes – it isn’t working.

We dream and joke that the boat has showers and to our surprise and delight we do indeed find some. “Tomorrow we can bathe before we get off,” we decide.

The ferry gently moves away from the port and the place we’ve called home (and hell) for the past three weeks starts becoming a distant landmass. I feel a mixture of sadness yet excitement. I had hoped for much more from Baja and felt disappointed by our sweaty experience, but I was thrilled to be heading to cooler climates where we could thrive.

A strange man is following me around the ferry. He watches me clean up Guerrera’s pee and poop, he watches me read my book and follows me down the stairs to where the van is parked. Jacob discreetly hands me the pepper spray, and this is the first time since being in Mexico when I’ve felt scared.

My head hits the pillow in the van. It’s hot but not as hot as on land. The nightly ritual of taking the duvet off the bed and setting up the fans has ended, and we are laying in a stifling stillness. We hope this is the last night of discomfort, but the effect of the motion sickness tablets we took has kicked in and we are thankfully struggling to stay awake.

I have a shower room all to myself and I’m able to finally wash in water that isn’t the ocean. I feel clean and refreshed when it’s our turn to disembark. Our tires touch the mainland for the first time and our eyes take in the new surroundings of lush greenness after having witnessed only desert landscapes for the last three weeks.

We hit play on the Mexico playlist and sing along loudly as we head off into the unknown.

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