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grey whale

"The Devil's Road" Main Expedition, Day 38

April 7th (La Paz again)

This morning we met two marine biology PhD students for an interview. We were an hour late! Both JT and I were not aware that BCS plays the "spring forward, fall behind" game, changing their clocks for daylight savings, and I felt like a fool. Michelle and her husband Marco were very understanding and gave us a great interview anyway. Michelle is studying gray whales and attempting to prove that while they are in southern Baja to calf and mate, they are also feeding. This, if proven, could change how Mexico protects their breeding habitat. Marco, on the other hand, is studying the bottlenose dolphins that frequent the La Paz bay.

They both gave us a great insight into how Mexico is working to restore our marine habitats and what may be in store for the future. Thank you both for taking time out of your day to talk with us.

During the afternoon, we negotiated with a local panga captain to take us to El Mogote so that we could walk around to film. We walked around the complex and was surprised by how finished and bustling one part of the project was. We had heard rumors that the project was gaining momentum to be completed, and we certainly saw evidence that workers were on site and attempting to finish parts of the buildings.

We were then able to find the same location of a few of Goldman's photos of the La Paz waterfront so that we could do a "then and now" series of comparison shots.

La Paz on this Friday was alive with action. It seemed that all the vendors were out, the Malecon was bustling, and there was a flurry of activity everywhere. Spring break is here, not only for Mexico, but for the States as well. A major beach volleyball tournament was also being held on the Malecon and the stands were full of spectators. JT and I walked downtown during sunset to get some tacos for dinner.


"The Devil's Road" Main Expedition, Day 31

March 31st (Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos)

This small fishing village has a history of changing its name. In 1905 when Nelson and Goldman came through it was know by three names: La Soledad, Matancita, or Santo Domingo Landing. It is here that they boarded a sailing vessel owned by the Chartered Company of Lower California for a trip to Isla Magdelena and Isla Santa Margarita.

Today, it is officially know as Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, named after one of Mexico's former presidents. The town survives on commercial fishing and whale watching. The bay that fronts the village is one of the major breeding and calving grounds for the gray whale. JT and I jumped on a boat with a very nice couple (he is American and she is Australian). They wanted someone to split the cost of the boat and the captain assured us that there were still three mothers with calves in the bay.

We had a good trip and motored alongside one mother and her calf for about an hour. They did not want to engage with us and kept us at a distance the entire time. We were able to get some other footage of coyotes, herons, frigate birds, and fishermen cleaning their catch on the island shores.

Both of us were in bad shape and needed showers in the worst way. When you can't stand yourself, you know you are affecting those around you. So, we secured a room in Ciudad Insurgentes for two nights to charge up all of our devices, download and copy data, and get a shower. We are also spending this time to go through footage and gear and get a feel for what we may need during the next month.