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We had managed to fix a few more buglets with the drone last night (Jonathan performed his wizardry – must have gone to school with Harry Potter) and things seemed to work fine but we were unable to test the GPS function in doors. So we thought of a day to the seaside to try filming Copiapoa from the sky would be interesting.

Nature had put out another Purple Haze display right along R5 so that became the first stop of the day. Then on to the road to Carrizal Bajo. Bart had wanted to see the Thelocephala that grows along the road, about 500 – 1000 m after the ruins of a factory on the right hand side of the road. Our flowering desert stop had allowed them to arrive early and find a few plants already, or rather, Marijke to find them. She was on an incentive scheme where plants found in nature could be exchanged later for purchases of shoes and tops etc. For the sake of consistency I’ll look up the names that I used on previous visits for the plants from here – they looked a lot larger than I remember!

Next stop Llanos de Challe NP where we explored a new low hill and were nearly blown down from the top – nature was providing its own air-conditioning, very pleasant!

Bart & Marijke had brought ingredients for their lunch, so Jonathan and I went for a hunt for empenadas in Carrizal Bajo. Wrong! Everything was closed for lunch. The tide was out, so an opportunity to photograph the sand bank again (see 2001) this time from the bridge. Nature’s air-conditioning was still in the switched-on mode – nice, but now creating concern about flying a drone in these winds. We3 decided to find a suitable spot first, found some 20 km north of CB, where indeed a local weather check ruled out an attempt to fly. At this rate, the drone will go home without having fulfilled its purpose!

Angie will be interested (and sick) to read that the cacti were now in full flower – what a difference a few weeks make!

David Whitely wrote to say that when they stayed in Vicuna, they experienced heavy rain that must have caused all the flowers that we saw during our visit! Are you producing a report of your trip, David?

Readers of the 2013 Diaries will recall that one of the highlights of that trip was the finding of an excellent cake shop on the Vallenar crossroads opposite the Coped and this became our next target, but not before I was distracted by a sign to Caleta Matamoros, a new one to me, so one to explore. The rough track lead to some fisherman’s huts but high above the Ocean – strange place for fishing, and let us past a huge clump of C. dealbata featuring a large crested stem. We draped ourselves around the plant while Jonathan set up the tripod etc and recorded a film clip from which the group photo could be selected in due course.

Tomorrow we head for Bahia Inglesa – Englishmen’s Bay.


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