Thursday, February 26, 2009
Guerrero Negro Part 5: The Process
We woke up early, had breakfast, and geared up to head to our last capture site of the trip. Everyone had been happy, well-fed, upbeat, and the entire trip went off without a hitch thus far. Which, of course, means that we were due for a snag. And that came in the form of an untimely flat tire.
The Isuzu Trooper that we spent most of the journey in, the same vehicle that Roberto and Victor broke down in on the way from La Paz, had held up fairly well since the breakdown. Despite Roberto's ballsy driving, not shying away from the nastiest of dirt roads or tight corners, we had yet to experience any issues once the car actually made it to Guerrero Negro. It was a miracle that a flat tire was all that was to come. Although "flat" wasn't terribly accurate.
More like shredded.
The sight of what once was our tire was fairly disconcerting, until I realized what our 'new' tire looked like. I envisioned driving on tacks with an inner tube, and feared plunging into a ravine somewhere, mounds of salt preserving my rotting corpse. To my delight, it held up nicely, and I didn't have to worry about seagulls picking at my remains.
After changing the flat with the bare minimum tools to do so (I took the lug nuts off, thank you very much) we hopped in our cars and back down the road.
On the day of the last capture, I decided to remain out of the fray to at least try and capture some of the process on video. While it doesn't convey the true chaos and adrenaline, it gives you an idea of what happens right before the net fires, through the events of the data circle.
This particular day didn't quite go as planned (I found that is usually the case.) We had barely decided on a spot for capture, and were merely hoping for success rather than expecting it.
We had all rounded up and were put in three groups. One group was to walk across the net area to the other side of the dike we were on, one group was to stay close behind the detonation point, and one would remain on the near side of the dike's edge.
I was placed in the first group, and we were all headed out to cross the net area when birds started pouring in unexpectedly. Everyone dropped to the ground where they were at and waited, nobody even close to their intended positions. Victor, chief net detonator, actually had to crawl military style to get to the detonator. Very covert. It was a stroke of luck, but one that came before we were ready.
The videos (two of them, due to photobucket restrictions) begin from there, and they sum up the few hours to follow, from the birds arriving, the net being fired on through the end of the capture day: