Sorry for the break in communications, but the last few nights were in accommodation where there was no internet facility or if there was, it blocked MSN.
Today would be Wiebe’s last day with us, so we spent the morning exploring and in the afternoon Cliff & I drove him to the airport at Porto Alegre.
We started with a look around Fazenda Pandorama, the farm converted to holiday cabanas where we had spent the night. The 3-4 ostriches kept in a pen were of interest, photographically as were the cacti, bromeliads, ferns, mosses and lichens covering the tree. Woody called us over to take a look at one Rhipsalis sp. in flower. Cliff posed for the traditional picture as the pollinator for this plant and I can confirm that the flowers had a lemon-like aroma. As there were plants here, This stop was numbered S1477.
We soon found the track from where our ‘target plant’ for the day was reported from and made a series of four stops, with some distance between our two cars, to cover as large an area as possible in the shortest possible time. S1478, S1479 and S1480 turned out to be just the usual Parodia linkii and P oxycostata growing on rocky outcrops again covered in mosses and lichens. It must at times get very wet around here and on a regular basis.
At S1481 I was about to return to the car from ‘my’ rocky outcrop, again to file a negative report, when Wiebe shouted and waved excitedly from his small hill. We all quickly rushed over, me arriving first, in time to be told by Wiebe to be quiet as I joined him, because in front of him was a hole below a rock and a small armadillo was sitting in the opening. Thoughts of looking for Parodia graessneri were forgotten, this was great! I managed a good few shots before the animal disappeared. Wiebe whispered that there were five young in total and when he first arrived they were all out at play.
He then told me that there were indeed P. graessneri as well. These were already being photographed by the others who were unaware of the armadillo burrow. These were not the P. graessneri with which I was familiar in Europe. In fact they looked more like P. haselbergii, with white rather than yellow spines. The greenish flowers however were indicative of P.graessneri.
P1482 was a bonus, another new (for this trip) species to add to the list: Parodia (Brasiliparodia) buenekeri with of course P. linkii also present.
S1483 combined a stop at a viewpoint for another waterfall with Wiebe’s goodbye. The two hour plus drive to Porto Alegre was a quiet one, as no one likes to say cheerio to a great travel companion. See you in Holland in 2010!
Cliff and I then had the challenge to find the other car and its occupants in Caxais do Sul. We reached the outskirts of town in good time and then (2nd attempt) found a phone box that worked, so that I could ring Marlon’s mobile to discover where they had booked into a hotel. Amazingly the call went through without problems. Even more amazingly they described a hotel along the main road that we had travelled by with five new blue tractors parked in front of it. As we had driven past it earlier on the way to Porto Alegre I had thought: ‘I hope that they pick this one.’ Finding it again turned out more tricky, as Brazilian road numbers seem to be used for more than one road (a new bypass?), but an hour later we were there!