As unlikely as it seems, it is getting hotter and more humid, so that the most comfortable environments are hotel rooms and the car, with the air-conditioning system set to somewhere between 16 and 20C. Not very good for sinuses and eyes that tend to dry out, but at least we are over the worst of the medical issues that befell us at the start of the trip. Today was a reasonably easy day with 172.07 km driven from door to door of our hotels. The character of the towns has changed from ‘olde-worldy Mexico’ to any modern resort, anywhere, with large groups of Canadians moving from bar to bar.
We made two stops with a third stop included as we walked ahead of the car to the final stop of the day. And the target plant today was not a Ferocactus, but Melocactus oaxensis. Well, that seems to be the local name, but there is a huge list of synonyms that will require a closer look back home (Melocactus obtusipetalus, Cactus obtusipetalus, Melocactus delessertianus, Melocactus caesius, Cactus caesius, Melocactus humilis, Melocactus lobelii, Melocactus ruestii, Melocactus salvador, Cactus salvador, Cactus maxonii, Melocactus maxonii, Melocactus ruestii maxonii, Melocactus guatemalensis, Cactus oaxacensis, Melocactus oaxacensis, Melocactus ruestii oaxacensis, Melocactus guitarii, Melocactus dawsonii, Melocactus loboguerreroi, Melocactus holguinensis, Melocactus jakusii, Melocactus maxonii sanctae-rosae, Melocactus ruestii sanctae-rosae, Melocactus ruestii cintalapensis).
The first stop was at last year’s AB668 at the Blue Rock Restaurant, a rather grand name for a shack selling beers and Pepsi before we continued our journey. Cacti included various Opuntia sp. including one that was losing its fight against a mealy bug infestation. I photographed just four Melos, none of which looked very happy – in fact very thirsty, growing exposed to the elements on a high rock.
We drove on to the second Melocactus location but before reaching it, stopped to photograph Pereskia lychnidiflora that had been reported from here last year. Then it was included under AB669 but for the purpose of my S numbers, I’ll give the plants photographed along the track today’s S#2, as the habitat is distinct from the Melocactus hill at the end of the track. S#2 had a Hylocereus sp., near where we parked the car. Along the track, on the raised side, were clumps of Mammillaria (M. voburnensis?), a yellow flowered Opuntia sp. (same species as at S#1) and one or two more taxa waiting for an ID.
Arriving at the final destination, there were some tall cerioids that need an ID. Here the majority of the Melocacti looked better watered than at the first stop, but at the expense of their attractiveness, as many had been protected from excess evaporation by a thick layer of grasses and herbs that now, with Spring approaching, were dying back, covering the Melos with their remains. There were magnificent views over the Ocean, where pelicans and frigate birds were showing off their prowess of fishing just off-shore. Close to the edge of the hill, the Melocacti were more exposed and offered some great shots with the Ocean in the background.
It seems that the Canadian contingent is hell bound on celebrating the result of the Winnipeg v. Ottawa ice hockey game that was broadcast all over town. Every time a point was scored a large bell in the restaurant was rung and more beer was requested. I’ll rely on sleeping on my good ear, with the deaf ear blocking out the BeeGees singing Staying Alive and Abba singing about the Dancing Queen. I must be getting old!