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  • Nice breakfast, sunny skies
  • Visit the Copec at the R5 crossing to milk the ATM as per usual
  • Took R5 north to turning to Carrizal Bajo
  • Saw evidence of Desert in Flower, but not at its peak
  • At Carrizal Bajo more new housing and signs of (slow) progress
  • Lots of Annuca (yellow flowered bulb) in flower
  • Stopped at the usual C. dealbata stop but none of the crested plants from previous years were found.
  • None of the Copiapoa were in flower! Back home must check this for previous visits. Could it be that in an El Ninjo year there is more cloud cover / camanchaca, reducing the amount of sunshine which in turn reduces fowering of Copiapoa?
  • Eulychnia breviflora in full flower!
  • We took the Vallenar – Carrizal Bajo – Totoral – Copiapo Airport – Caldera road, then R5.
  • Could not see any C. calderana at 140 km p. hr.
  • Lots of damage from last March’s floods – wrecked cars buldozed into the desert. Hosteria brightly painted plus other new? hotels in evidence, Copec and Petrobas stations rebuilt, away from the road
  • New junction to Pan de Azucar. All clear to the PdA Village, then the road completely washed away with signs indicating ‘blocked’ So no opportunity for Angie to say hello to Smiler.
  • Roads into PdA from R5 also closed.
  • Met up with Pablo’s brother Rolf with his partner Renata (from Austria) at Club Taltal. Not sure where the Zimmerframers got to. No sign of Brian Bates as yet
  • Tomorrow: short drive to Cifuncho to see if we can find T. weisseri.

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