Travel to Salcedo and Laguna Yambo

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
Trip End Feb 02, 2009

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Flag of Ecuador  , Cotopaxi,
Sunday, October 3, 2010

We arrived in the town where we would base our operations. A small village called San Miguel de Salcedo, about 30 minutes or so from the lake. It was a really nice rustic compound that had several small street like paths lined on either side with wood cabins. I will cover the accommodations in the next entry, but to describe them briefly, they were rustic yet adequate. Authentic Andes decor but done with Walt Disney's attention to detail. We all got checked in and had a gathering at the restaurant for a meet and greet and a kickoff meeting. The crew would be made up of us four Americans lead by the Swiss/Ecuadorian company owner Jean-Thomas, He had in his company his assistant, a boat driver, three or so divers, and a translator who would be used for the upcoming press conference?!? (you see, at this point I just found out that there would be a press conference, and there would apparently be a translator.) There were also the before mentioned four undercover police that would be at the site at all times while we were there to keep the media from interfering with getting our job done, and the assistant to the Attorney General of Ecuador would be our contact on site. There would also be pop-in visits from several key people including the Father of the boys and their sister, who was making a documentary and would have cameramen and photographers in tow.

Jean-Thomas wanted to show us the lake before the sun went down so we packed up and all headed down to have our first look at Laguna Yambo. As we wound our way down into a valley on a gravel road off the Panamericana, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. The lake was in a valley that enclosed the lake on three sides. The water was a vivid shade of green and had lots of algae growth in it. I was glad that I was at least not on the diving team.
It was starting to rain so we walked out to the little shed at the waters edge. It had been there for many years and creaked under our weight. I wondered weather this was the safest place to stand even if it was undercover. We talked a little bit about our plan for tomorrow and we saw our boat, which was currently still on a trailer. Laguna Yambo isn't really suited for motorized vehicles, and because of that there is no real need for a boat ramp. The dive team and the boat captain were (in the heavy rain) discussing how to launch their boat. They appeared to have a plan of action that I was glad not to be involved with and we set of back to the hotel. Well, we intended to go back, but we instantly got stuck on the uphill road. The heavy rains had turned the gravel road into a slippery clay mudslide. We got out and attempted to push the vans and with enough jockeying and a light tap against some rocks on the side of the road and we were on our way.

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