Hunting the Desert Whale Author:Erle Stanley Gardner This book might fairly be described as 'four adventures in one'. Its setting is Baja California, on the east washed by the waters of the Gulf of California and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The territory can be reached by road--a hazardous, rough route that is best traveled by specially-equipped vehicles--or, better, by aircraft, piloted by ... more »a man who knows the vagaries of the climate and the treacherous air conditions that produce air currents and turbulence.
Erle Stanley Gardner has explored that part of the Baja that is virtually unknown to men of today. Traveling by road, he and his companions made camp on the shores of Scammon's Lagoon, which the gray whales, coming down from the Bering Sea, visit every year, and where every second year the young whales are born. But the gray whales resent attention, and photographing them proved both difficult and dangerous.
The sandhills at the back of the lagoon provide still further adventures, for the Pacific casts up on these shores the flotsam and jetsam and the wreckage of vessels that she has swallowed through the years. Here the adventurers found ancient timber vessels, a World War I airplane, and 'loot' of all kinds.
It was on his way back from Scammon's Lagoon that Mr. Gardner was flown over the canyons of the Loreto, the subject of the second part of the book, which he determined to 'conquer' first overland, with mules for transporting kit, and then later by a combination of aircraft and motor-transport of an unusual type. The fascination of his part of the book lies not only in the mysterious canyons which betray the civilizations that once existed there, not only in the explorations of helicopter and airplane and Pak-Jak (a motorscooter capable of climbing almost verticle obstacles), but also in the close human relationships between the explorers and the Mexicans who guided, aided, and succored them. Long after the adventures become a hazy memory in the mind of the reader, he will conjure up the intrepid pilot Francisco Munoz, Pepe Smith and his son Nenny, Juanito--and Ynes, especially Ynes, who watched over Erle Stanley Gardner, wuite unknown to him, to ensure that he came to no harm.« less