As always with first time, we were a bit unprepared on our previous trip. This time, I send a much more extensive list of things that we should take with us, to prepare for all eventualities. So after a nice breakfast (that felt more like a lunch) I went downstairs and entered the main CIP complex and the labs. By 9 we had everything packed and ready to go. But suddenly the CIP security was not so sore whether we could take everything or whether we were even allowed to drive the vehicle that we rented. By 10:00 we left CIP.
The ride through Lima was slightly less painful than the last time we went this direction. We we were outside the City by 12:00 and had a nice lunch. As we were heading back the same way as one of the previous trips, we could also sample the same places. The first stop af the day was going to be Site 10 from the last trip. When we stopped there, I vaguely recognised the place, but I did not see the two obvious S. pimpinellifolium plants that Philippe had duly described on the last trip. We wandered around and found some small plants not far away growing next to another wild solanum species that showed some very nice Alternaria lesions and possibly a sign of P infestans as well. So, we decided to try all our sampling kit on the spot.
Philippe did not join the first part of this trip. Freddy is my new companion. He has been on many field trips to collect P infestans and other pathogens from potato fields, so this should be perfect. I did realise though that Philippe probably over three decades of experience in prospecting Ralstonia. I have just been an observer on that part last trip, and Freddy is also better with finding brown sport than wilting plants, so the whole endeavor took us rather long. When we headed back to the car, it became clear why I didn’t spot these two plants from last time. They we totally brown and drying out. Such a shame.
After this site, we went a few hundred meters further and found a second interesting location.
The second site of the day was going to be Site 11 from our previous trip. back then we found a very large number of beautiful S pennellii there. These plants were all still there, but many had lost part of their vigour. The weather forecast for the day predicted rain, but it actually was pretty dry and had been for a while. Nonetheless, there was enough to collect so we went for it.
The last site of the day was a new location. This time we have two days along the same road, so we could add one more stop in the lower area’s. Tomorrow we will go higher up, where according to everyone who I spoke to, it would be wetter. The drive up was indeed very different from last time. The river that was then only a tiny stream was now wide and gushing Andes water down to the coast. More strikingly though. At the end of January there had been a number of huge thunderstorms, so on many places, the road was filled with dirt and mud from land slides. Some parts of the road were completely gone and at least in 5 occasions, a large boulder blocked half of the road. However, the higher we drove, the greener the landscape. We could see mist coming in and the temperature dropped to 16 degrees. Our favourite plant pathogens might really like it here. 😉