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Archive for March 16, 2008

Sunday, 16 March 2008 – Ciudad Constitucion to San Carlos

My elation yesterday about the sunset pictures was short-lived, as last night  accidentally I managed to delete all my pictures for the 14th and 15th permanently, when I was backing things up to my plug-in hard drive. Never by-pass the recycle bin! Especially when you are tired and in a hurry. Lesson learned the hard way. I also managed to delete one of Cliff’s folders at the same time. The advantage of travelling in a group is that
there will be shared pictures from others, but it’s not the same, as I thought that some of my sunset pictures were the best pictures I’ve taken. Never mind, water under the bridge.

After a relaxed start to the day we drove the 55 km (35 miles) to San Carlos. Eunice had rung Hotel Brennan to see if they had space. Only for 1 X 3 room. So we have decided to stay at Hotel Oasis in Ciudad Constitucion for two more nights and arranged to meet Jose, the owner of our boat in February for the trip to Isla Magdalena, at 2 p.m. at Hotel Brennan.

As result, we had time to make a stop along the road some 12 km from Cd. Constitucion (S899) and found F. peninsulae ssp margarita (yellow flowers now confirmed plus yellow fruit with seed), Mammillaria dioica, Pachycereus pringlei, P. schottii (in bud), P. gummosus and Fouqueria diguetti. S900 was a repeat of our Feb. stop where Alain had spotted a crested Ferocactus to the right side of the road. We stumbled across P. eruca as we went to photograph the crest. This time I went to the other side of the road where P. eruca continued several 100 m. east of the road, growing alongside its cousin P. gummosus. The area here is called the Llano de Magdalena and it reminds me of the Llanos de Choros in Chile: very flat, along the Pacific Ocean, vegetation dictated by sea fogs and wind. There too, the ceroids (Eulychnia in this case) had departed from their normal upright habit and had developed a low to the ground habit instead. Parallel evolution?

We went on to San Carlos, tried a few dirt tracks that we couldn’t do in February and drove to the spit where in Feb. we had left the car and boarded to boat. The tide was out and the bird life we had seen before, had gone out with it. As we turned to head back to town, Ian spotted the bright yellow fruits of F. peninsulae ssp. margarita, so another stop. Much to my surprise P.  eruca was also here, so its distribution is quite
a bit more extensive than I had thought. Here it grew in sight of the sea, although there was a road in between. Also lots of Mammillaria (dioica?) with bright red fruits that might help to ID them.

It was time to go to Hotel Brennan to meet Jose, but instead we spoke with his younger brother. Yes, they could do a boat trip to the islands tomorrow. I asked if this time we could go to Isla Margarita, next door, instead. Sure, he suggested 3 locations where in the past
Japanese and German visitors wanted to go. Then we would go back along the coast of Isla Magdalena for shelter, stop off at our February spot, then lunch at Puerto Magdalena and back ‘home’. a 5-6 hour trip, starting at 7 a.m. all for MX$2,000.

Hands were shaken, so we could get back to cactussing. We went back to around km. 24, the ‘Microwave tower’ (these are telecom relay stations). and followed a sand track east. This helped us to establish that P. eruca went at least 1 km east of MEX 22. We carried on for some 15 km more, but the road only allowed us to drive at c. 20 m.p.h. and it would take much too long to complete the rectangle that would take us back to
Cd. Constitucion. Common sense suggested that we’d turn back to MEX22 the way we had come.

Back to the hotel to down load images to computers and image viewers. Due to my misfortune with yesterday’s sunset images, I had suggested picking a spot for tonight’s sunset. We had under estimated how fast the sun goes down so we had barely time to get the spot and snap some pictures. The sky was OK, but not as good as yesterday and we had telephone lines and poles in the sky line. Not bad though, considering and we
made notes to do better tomorrow, keeping fingers crossed for a good sky!

Up at 5 a.m. for the boat trip, so early to bed.