Make your own free website on
A Voyage to Remember

Not exactly luxurious, but we got there

This was the first article written by John for publication. And even back then, when the dollar was much stronger, seven days at sea for only 12 bucks was quite a bargain.

By John McLaren
(Oceanside  Blade-Tribune, Sept 19, 1956)

For the economy-minded tourist, we can think of no better travel bargain than an ocean journey from Ensenada to Acapulco on a vintage freighter known as the Ensenada II. The total cost of third class passage for a seven-day voyage is $12, which includes three meals a day and space on the deck for bedding and baggage. For a slightly greater sum the traveler may enjoy second class accommodations, in which the use of a berth in a rather stifling dormitory below deck is included. There is no first class.

The Ensenada II makes one Ensenada-Acapulco round trip a month, with actual sailing dates usually a week later than scheduled. The full journey itself lasts about two weeks, with several scheduled and non-scheduled stops in places rarely visited by the average tourist. However, the Ensenada II always unloads cargo in the port of San Jose del Cabo, near the tip of Baja California, since the isolated in habitants are almost totally dependent on ocean transport for all that they cannot build or grow themselves. Thatís where we disembarked.

Life at sea aboard the Ensenada II is simple and slow-paced, as she is primarily a freighter (a World War II Liberty ship, to be exact) and the entertainment of passengers is secondary in importance to the cargo. However, the farther south she goes, the more diverting becomes the ocean, for the passengers can spot many forms of exotic life in the warm, clear water.

The weather is usually superb, cloudless days alternating with brilliant nights. Sleeping on the decks under the stars is a memorable experience; but one should bring some kind of mattress to place under his bedding, for otherwise that deck becomes unbelievably hard after a week or so of living on it.


The travelers: clockwise from top, John, Holt Rose, Sam Haskins and George Sayre.

The meals on board are not luxurious by American standards, but there is always enough food and it is healthy. The galley steward takes a personal interest in the passengers and summons all of them individually to each meal. But some command of Spanish is necessary to communicate freely with the crew, since none of them speak any English.

For the enterprising tourist on a small budget, passage from Ensenada to Acapulco or any of the intermediate ports can be a novel and reward mean of discovering for himself a larger segment of the Mexican Pacific coast.