Text and photos by Hans Bertsch
(some photos by Patrick McDonough)

In March 2000, 聲gel Vald廥, Patrick McDonough and I drove south to La Paz to participate in the dissertation defense of Orso Angulo Campillo (who has been my student). After Orso's successful defense, 聲gel, Patrick and I drove to Cabo San Lucas where we met up with Dr. Francis Gilbert and a research vessel from the soon-to-be Tucson Aquarium. We were using an ROV to survey some of the canyons of the region. Before going to the dive site, we passed a cruise ship leaving the harbor. 聲gel told us he would not take his soon-to-be bride on it for their honeymoon! Patrick and I even offered to chip in $5 apiece for a suite, but to no avail.

Here we are putting the ROV submersible into the water; it was on loan from Sylvia Earle, and her son-in-law operated the vehicle and its video capabilities. Please note that 聲gel is safely on the boat, while I am on the stern pulling the 300 pound submersible into the water, at great risk to going down with it.

Well, it is about time to drop the ROV into the water; 聲gel has his hands on his hips, safely on board the Tucson-based research vessel El Postre (owned by Glenn Thompson of Tracer Research Corporation), while I once again am risking life and limb to drop the ROV into the water. Just for the record, I never fell in, and 聲gel never broke a sweat. That's what good friends are for.

So then 聲gel, Patrick and I drove back north to Bah燰 de los Angeles, where we met up with Mike Miller and Alan Grant. We had a great several days diving Punta la Gringa and the Barco Hundido, and photographing, measuring and grabbing slugs. One of the slugs Alan Grant videotaped is a new species that Sandra Millen and I are naming in the October issue of The Veliger. But that is another story and another slugsite.

Leaving Bah燰 de los Angeles, Patrick, 聲gel and I stopped to visit Antonio Resendiz, my good friend who owns Campo Archelon, and for years (with his wife Bety) has been doing research on the endangered sea turtle populations in the Gulf of California. We finally caught up with Mike and Alan. Alan's tire had blown near the dry lake bed out of town, so obviously we stopped and helped. Look carefully at the photograph. Here is my student from National University, Patrick McDonough, on the ground changing the tire, while all the slughunters (Mike, Alan, and 聲gel) are standing around watching the work). That's how to do science! Let the undergraduate student do the work! Of course, my work was to take the picture to record this event.

Travelling through the Baja California desert, one is always overcome by the beauty and diversity of the plants. Standing next to a cirio (Idria columnaris) that may be well over 200 years old, are my dear friends 聲gel Vald廥 and Stubbs (whom dedicated readers of this site will remember from the BOW Hypselodoris bertschi . The cirio is a relative of the ocotillo, and occurs in a very narrow stretch of the Baja California peninsula (and several isolated spots in Sonora). It has spines, and its leaves and yellow-white flowers come quickly after the idiosyncratic rains.

Let me say a few concluding remarks: 聲gel, Patrick, Orso, Alan, and Mike are all good friends, and although I have taken a bit of a light-hearted approach in this offbeat discussion of slugology, sharing a research trip with each and all of them is always a pleasure and honor. Just as "Doc" of Cannery Row, was a one-dimensional portrait of Ed Ricketts, these photos and text are one-dimensional portraits of mis amigos. Thanks, guys!

Hans Bertsch
Imperial Beach, California
Aug. 2000

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