We had a date with Eunice to pick her up at La Paz Airport at 13:39. We woke up to black clouds over Isla Cerralvoa and spits of rain falling. Despite the less than ideal conditions, we decided to drive to the airport and hope for a few photo opportunities before getting there. A few km. from the hotel I spotted a parking place with a track leading away from the road. There was a Ferocactus near the edge of the road near where I parked the car, what a great omen. The Feros here are all said to be Ferocactus peninsulae. Checking the IUCN red list of threatened species I learned that ‘… that contrary to Hunt et al. (2006) F. santa-maria and F. townsendianus are treated as synonyms of F. peninsulae’ and not as their subspecies. That will make life interesting when I tell Jonathan tomorrow, as we’ve been having trouble distinguishing these taxa from each other. The plants around La Ventana seem to have a good amount of F. rectispinus genes in their make up as well, suggesting the need to ‘stir the mud’ some more in the hope to seek clarification.
We seem to be in the area where both Pachycereus pringlei and P. pectin-arboriginum grow together. Both were in flower and in fruit. The name pecten-aboriginum, is from the Latin, and means “native combs”, inspired by the use of the fruits as hair combs.
I also found just one white spined Mammillaria which means I’ll have to check out the distribution of M. albicans and M. slevenii that may be candidates for this plant’s ID. Shame that I could only find the one plant. There was also a small tree with peculiar fruits that caught my attention, was photographed and so will need to be hunted down for a name.
We arrived at the airport with enough spare time to enjoy a coffee and a piece of cake and to check out the facilities. I know that on my next Baja trip, I’ll be flying LHR – Mexico City – La Paz and so avoid all the hassle with ESTAS, 90 minute queues at immigration and car rental firms with a stock of -36 cars of the class that they were happy to take your money for on the internet. Eunice appeared 30 minutes after landing through the Arrival gate.
On the way ‘home’ to the hotel we attempted to make one more cactus stop, but as soon as we had found a suitable parking spot the rain started up again. We had an early dinner, just around the corner at El Rincon and watched as a thunderstorm let lose over the sea to the east and south of us. Spectacular flashes of sheet lightning lit up the skies, with the thunder following a long time afterwards, so the real trouble was several miles away.
The forecast for tomorrow is sunny with 0% chance of rain. That’s exactly what I had ordered for our boat trip to the island. Fingers crossed!