As the California Star belched black smoke we watched the coast of Baja California shrink into the horizon, then moved back into the bar. When it turned into a Norteño karaoke bar we relocated to the dining room and vegged for the next few hours. We each said “I can’t believe we’re actually out!” numerous times while a Spanish dub of E.T. entertained the families around us. We were worried the Czech girl was on the boat as well.
We moved out onto the deck and just before sunset we watched a dolphin die. It was beautiful. Narcopiggy found a place to lean over the railing while the sun set…
… and then resumed chilling in the dining room until the lights of Topolobampo came into view.
Just as we were pulling into Topolabampo the TVs in the bar area switched to the news. They were reporting on the damage and goings on in La Paz, Cabo, and mainland Mexico as well. The whole boat was so quiet you could hear a mosquito queef. All eyes on the TVs, people watched intently as Odile’s destruction was unveiled in all parts of Mexico.
The Topolabampo port appeared tranquil, but as we each departed the boat – Murphy via the passenger ramp and myself down into the ship’s bowels and onto the ramp, we quickly realized it was anything but. Both of us were confronted with a full army, ready to take control of the ferry so that they could retake control of the southern end of the Baja. As I rolled the car off the ferry and onto the docks I had dockworkers yelling at me to do one thing and soldiers carrying M-16s telling me to do other things. When in doubt, take orders from the guy with the gun. It was chaos, families running everywhere, small children nearly becoming victims of El-BP. With nowhere to park I kept going (especially when someone with a gun told me to keep going) and parked near the port’s exit. I grabbed the tactical flashlight and tapped it three times to put it into strobe mode (the agreed upon signal), then pointed it toward the docks, adding to the chaos by dazzling oncoming drivers.
Reunited we got the hell out of the mess as quickly as possible, with only a vague idea of where we were going. We knew Los Mochis was about a fifteen minute drive from the port so we drove hard, looking for signs. Some were destroyed – it’s unclear whether this was hurricane damage or coincidental. We used Tha Queebs ‘Follow People’ method and it seemed to work. James nailed a cactus lying on the road… it’s been a hell of a long day at this point and we just want to sleep somewhere, but we have to fight the urge to drive fast, especially because the roads are complete shit, requiring fancy footwork to avoid killer potholes.
While we were happy to get out of Baja finally, we did have a feeling that we were out of the frying pan and into the fire since we’d read that the DFAIT advises “against non-essential travel to the northern state of Sinaloa (with the exception of Mazatlán) due to continuously high levels of violence linked to organized crime”. But our mission was simple, get a hotel, and in the morning, get the hell out.