05-03-2005 Gonzales Chaves

Veronica and Fabio of El Coraje gave us a warm welcome
Veronica and Fabio of El Coraje gave us a warm welcome

I call this ‘el pueblo de los lindos encuentros’.
One of the first lakes we visit during our lake-exploring-day was ‘El Coraje’ owned by the Marochi family. We (picture a group of biologist seriously lacking clean clothing and some of us with a 1,5 month beard) drove onto their property and were received as friends. It was a hot day and cold coke and cookies were waiting for us in the shade.
Their lake had an area of 120 hectares. As many lakes in this region it appeared in 1980 after a very rainy period. It never dried up again. The conductivity was high, but judging from the carbonate bedrock most likely not due to sodium chloride but to calcium carbonate. So although the lake strictly speaking did not fit our selection criteria we decided to sample it anyway. The next day we found as expected that the alkalinity was very high as well.

Carbonate bedrock

The density of the fish ‘pejerrey’ was ‘challenging’. It took us the whole morning to get them out of our nets. Fabio Marochi had informed some friends and after we measured and weighed the fish, they took a whole bunch home. Veronica and Fabio also kept some themselves.
The regional press also paid a visit. See: http://www.vozdelpueblo.com.ar
Sunday we decided to have our first afternoon off. The Marochis invited us over for lunch. Here we discovered that Veronica had turned the pejerrey into delicious ‘milanesas’. It was very nice to be in a family environment after eating in restaurants for some weeks in a row. More family joined later. With Jose and Gabriela and their children we decided to enjoy a ‘mate’ (='gaucho tea') along the lake shore. We also tried some windsurfing, but at least for me, the wind was too strong. Lunch finished at 7 o’clock :- )
And we kept having beautiful encounters. A senior autodidact taxidermis came out of no where to visit us in the hotel. It was great to talk to him. He knew the region as his back pocket: its biology, geology, its ancient and current drainage system.
Unfortunately we found more friendly people than suitable lakes. Many lakes were salty. We only found two more - one owned by a Dutch gentleman- and then we had to move on. Pitty. The people of the hotel Paris where we were staying kissed us goodbye.

Family dinner

El Coraje early morning

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