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We were back to early start – long days, so it was no surprise really that the telephone alarm went at 5:00 a.m. It was a surprise that the time to get up was so soon. At 5:30 the first planes started landing at San Diego Airport, about a stone’s throw (literally!!) from our beds. And at 6:00 a.m. The Trolley service (local commuter train, runs every 10 minutes at rush hour) and Amtrak’s hourly LA to San Diego service passed some 10 m. from the back of the hotel, so that alarm calls were almost superfluous.

By six we had all made it to Dennys, the 24 hour diner chain that fills every breakfast need and more. It was here that we made Jose, our guide and tour leader for the five days that we’d spend on Isla Cedros.

The trip to the border at Tijuana went smoothly, after we had to return to Avis in San Diego, where Eunice had returned the bus that we had hired to get the group out here. Why? Because Avis rang to say that they had found Eunice’s SatNav system still in the bus. It contained useful plant locality data for our trip!

By now we were in a much more comfortable 20 seater bus with plenty of room for the luggage as well. It was good to have our guide Jose and driver, Joel, to help us through the paperwork at the border. Because we were on a bus, all passengers had to get off and walk their luggage through customs. Here, a random green / red ‘traffic light’ system determined who was going to be inspected – and it wasn’t me.

Just past the place where we had stopped in March 2008 (Dudleya brittonii on the side of a roadside cutting, I’ll have to look up the Stop number later) we made the first stop today (S1742). Again, the roadside cliff face was full of D. brittonii, although quite a distance above our heads. Also here were Agave shawii, Bergerocactus emoryi, Cylindropuntia sp. and some three different species of Mesembryanthemum, infiltrators from Africa that find conditions on the Pacific shores very much to their liking, from California down to Chile.

We made another stop (S1743) but not for plants – this was in Ensenada at a shop that claimed to sell over 300 different brands of Tequila. But it was not just the content of the bottle that was of interest, but also the bottles themselves that were often of extreme ornate design. They would have sold, even if they had been filled with water. Perhaps they were …

The third stop (S1744) was not really a stop and certainly did not include any plants – at least none that I have spotted so far. I use this number to file the images of our flight from a military airport near Ensenada, to Isla Cedros, out in the Pacific Ocean. We made the 90 minute flight in a 12 seater plane – my first time in the air in something so small. It certainly brings you close in touch with reality that it is a long way down. Still – a perfect photo opportunity, particularly when we flew down the east side of the island with its hills very close to my window.  All our luggage was checked in great detail both before boarding the plane and afterwards on arrival at Isla Cedros. The Mexican authorities certainly take the control of movements of drugs and weapons very serious, even though the problems appear to be caused by the demand for such things across the border in the USA.

We had taken over the whole cabana complex in the town of Cedros.  Take a look at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures website and read here how we get on in days to come.

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