Guest blog – Clipperton follow-up – July 20, 2010

I have been working a little bit, almost every day on my pictures from our great Clipperton Island adventure.  A huge project, not only because there are so many pictures – about 5 GB to sort through and process, but also because I have to fit it in around the thing that pays the bills, my “Day Job”, a huge project that is going on with my house, and all the normal day to day stuff that I have to take care of. When I get the pics and trip report done, I will post them and send everyone a link.
Also, I also stumbled across a book about Clipperton that I loved, “Isle of Passion” by Laura Restrepo. Amazon.com has some copies and I think you may find it a great read.  It is a well written book about the lives of the people who lived on Clipperton, and, after trying to survive on the island for a day, I could really identify with it.
Yesterday, all of the specimens that you guys worked so hard to help collect and catalog during the Clipperton expedition, finally entered the US for their trip to the museum.The Nautilus Explorer crew had moved them to their warehouse in Ensenada for storage until pick up could be arranged.
I have never driven to Mexico before.  I have always been too afraid of being stopped by Mexican cops, driving into a giant pot hole in the road and disappearing forever, or having some other huge disaster befall.  I’ve heard so many bad stories.  Armed with Jeff, I finally had the courage to take my truck on the 4 and a half hour journey.
On the way, we had to stop at the last US exit and find a place that sold Mexican Car insurance – about 21$ for a days worth of insurance.  Getting through the boarder at Tijuana was easy, and after traversing crowded and poorly marked highways in Tijuana, the trip was not bad at all.  Very pretty drive down the Baja Peninsula actually.  I did my best to follow the speed limits and the traffic laws, and no one bothered us.

We went to “La Bufadora” the big blow hole near Ensenada for a few minutes of sightseeing while waiting for the Nautilus Crew to arrive at the Ensenada port, and it was pretty cool.  I liked Ensenada in general and would really like to go back to do some R&R time and sightseeing in the future.  If you guys ever want to go, give me a holler!!  I think I could drive it again, just need a little navigation help getting through Tijuana.

We located the shipyard. A big place!!  This is where the Nautilus Explorer maintains space in a warehouse and docks the ship to restock.  We found the Nautilus Explorer there along with Gordon, Larry, Bayu, Sten etc. They were very busy turning the ship around for their next trip but took a few minutes to say hello and get us to the warehouse to pick up the specimens.

With everything loaded into the truck, we started the trip home.  Another beautiful drive up the coast that went smoothly until we reached the border.

We had to wait in a line of cars for over an hour to actually get to the boarder check point.  They have lots of Mexican vendors that continually traverse the traffic lanes trying to sell stuff.  It’s amusement in the huge barely moving parking lot.  I bought a large ceramic piggy bank for saving money for my next trip.  The piggy bank started at 10$ but I got it for 6$.  Jeff told me not to buy it for 6$, he said I could get it for 3$.  Sure enough, about 20 minutes and 1/32 of a mile later, someone else was shoving an identical piggy bank in the car window, trying it sell it for 3$.  Jeff had this huge “I told you so” smile on this face.

When we finally pulled into the boarder check point, the customs inspector just about crapped over a truck bed filled with containers of preserved sea life.  Jeff pulled out his permits and papers which helped ease the shock and agitation of the customs guy, but we were still directed to the “Secondary Inspection” area. In this area they had a place where you stop the car and these huge cameras pointed at the car and in the windows definitely record your presence or whatever.  It was creepy – felt very naked. Then I had to drive through this giant scanner that was like a big car wash with no water.  Would send pictures but Jeff said I wasn’t probably allowed to take pictures so I didn’t.

After the electronic and probably radiation scans we had to pull into a spot and wait for our meeting with the “Secondary Inspector”.  The “Secondary Inspector” was a hot and tired lady.  She went and got us a different inspector who was actually a diver that used to work at Sea World.  This guy was pretty nice, recognized that Jeff had written a book or two, and who actually knew of me from my Trip Reports onDiver.net.  Usually, anything I do is so pale in comparison to Jeff – I was just blown away that a “stranger” knew of me.  This inspector called “Fish and Wildlife” for the final approval to transport the stuff into the Country.  After a two and a half hour boarder crossing the truck load of stuff finally made it into the country!!!  It will be delivered to the Museum later this week. “Fish and Wildlife” will do the final inspection when the stuff arrives at the museum.

So, that is the update.  I know that you guys were probably wondering what was going on with all of your hard work.

Will send more updates as they occur – again, it may be a while, nothing happens quickly with this stuff, but it does happen.

Elaine

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