Saturday, August 13, 2011

Not the Janitzio Ferry Company

As I mentioned we took a weekend, ok extended weekend trip to the islands.
I am use to seeing overloaded boats in Patzcuaro. Those boats are mostly overloaded on the Day of the Dead celebrations when the passenger boats that are designed for about 50 people have about 150 or more people stuffed to the gills, crammed to dangerous proportions ferrying between Patzcuaro and Janitzio.

Since there are no boat police, coast guard or OSHA this is one of those accidents waiting to happen situations. But stuff like that is never a big priority in Mexico. It's the simple non invasive attitude that makes simple life possible.

I am sure that it has been that way since the Jantizio became a pilgrimage magnet years ago.

On our trip to San Juan we had to get on their ferry system. Washington state has a ferry system that would make the Patzcuaro boat owners salivate. The ferries have to transport vehicles, residents and visitors 7 days a week.

This was the first time I have ever been on a ferry that cars and trucks drive in other than a years ago, I travesed the Coosa River in backwoods Alabama. That ferry was man powered and it could fit 2 cars on a good day!

On planning our trip I knew that we had to use ferries and that I always heard of people being stranded because they "Missed the last Ferry".

Not knowing all the ins and outs of ferry travel, that was an tense unknown for us.

We arrived at the the terminal just as the ferry was finishing loading. And it leaves on time, something that would make a German Train operator proud. So if you don't show up when the load time is're done!
So we sat around waiting for the next ferry. It got me to thinking of how many and what the capacity of the ferry was. After we were on it, there are several levels of seating a restaurant and bar, nice restrooms and decks that you could walk around on. In my mind I figured that the ferry would hold 50 or 60 cars, and who knows how many hundreds of people.
It turned out that my guess was way off. After all the cars had been loaded and we were on our way, I asked one of the workers what the capacity was and he said it was 165 cars.

Man, that is one big boat. Just think if Lake Patzcuaro would have a car ferry, to take tourists to the islands.
A new tourist attraction......NOT.

It was a great ferry ride, comfortable, pretty quick considering and very efficient. The trip cost about 70 dollars for a car and two people but considering that was for both ways, it was almost as reasonable as a ride in Disneyland.

The ferries there run about 6 or 7 times a day, I was surprised to see large and long tractor trailers loaded with all kinds of stuff roll onto the boat.

The trip on-loads and offloads in a matter of minutes and operates like a well oiled machine. We are already planning on when we can come up there and spend some more time... We really enjoyed the trip and can't wait to check out some of the other islands. Perhaps next year.


norm said...

The river crossing at Sayaxche on the Reo Passion in Guatemala's Peten is always interesting. It holds two tankers and six or eight cars at a time but to dock, the trucks must move when docking to shift the ferry's weight back toward the river to let the ferry rise up enough to meet the dock. Seeing an 18 wheeler moving toward the edge is unnerving while in the middle of a river full of crocodiles. And yes, it is not uncommon for those trucks to back right off the ferry. Adventure in the back country.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

love these 2 shots. yes, the wa. state ferry system is all that you say. having lived in wa. for 21 years, i took many a ferry. at first i too was surprised at how many cars and huge trucks they can carry.

love the comment in your previous post about the window of sunshine. you are so right! this year there has not been much summer so i am really enjoying the heat in nagoya. in the 90s every day this past week and supposed to be just as hot next week.

would you like me to send you my weekly updates?

enjoy the rest of your trip.

teresa formerly of lake stevens, wa.

Don Cuevas said...

I remember the ferry ride in the film, "Five Easy Pieces". But of course, that was a shadow compared to the notorious diner "Chicken Salad Sandwich" scene.

Down in the Arkansaw:Back in our caving days, we used to ride stream powered, cable guided ferries on the White River in Arkansas, I especially liked the one at Guion and another at Allison-Sylamore.

Using the ferries required careful attention to the time of day, as after a certain hour they would stop running. Then we might be forced to make a lengthy detour through some place like Izard County. (No, I'm not making this up.)

This map route shows the circuitous route, through the Ozark hill country, between the two ferry site. One was at Allison, the other at Guion.

Above all, they enhanced the sense of adventure which is what we sought while exploring caves in the area.

Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

Norm, It's interesting to note that it has only been recent, (last 50 years) or so that more bridges have been built in rural America, precluding tiny ferries. Now they are far and few between, except for some really tiny communities or ones that cherish their tranquility! I would have loved to see the boat teeter totter to shift the weight, and practical and ingenious solution, to say the least.

Teresa, It was interesting to see a dual trailer filled with gravel get on the ferry, but then if you think of the big picture of mass to weight, it's not a big deal, just something you don't see all the time. And yes we would love to hear updates from the Far East!!!

Sr, Cuevas, That certainly would make me want to be sure and take the ferry, man that is going out of your way if you can't cross the river there. Interesting to see how remote that area of Arkansas is, never really thought of it. How does a steam powered ferry work, unless you have two tied together with pulleys and rope?

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

Hi Tancho! Your pictures capture the essence of the Great Pacific Northwest. Nice job! And it sounds like you enjoyed the ferry ride. I know people that ride a ferry everyday to get to Nintendo in's just another method of commuting...that comes with a great view.

norm said...

There is a good photo on "GREETINGS FROM GUATEMALA" of one of those tankers in the drink. Sayaxche is the jump off point for river trips to a few remote Mayan river sites. I use it for a rest stop as well, hotel with air and hot food on site, a patio with lounge chairs overlooking the river crossing-a place out of time.