Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

March 28, 2009

Crocodile Country

Everyone you meet in the northern regions of Australia; cruisers, fishermen and landlubbers all seem to have their own crocodile story to tell. The daily rag has one almost every day.

The talk at the moment is of introducing a culling program. Nothing new, after all, when I lived in Wyndham (aka the Cambridge Gulf is the arse end of the world and Wyndham is 60 miles up it….the description given to me by a public servant no less!) in the early 1980’s there was talk about the town and with government officials that the same needed doing. The wheels of government..they take time!

Sadly there have been a few tragedies with crocs taking children in Darwin and northern Queensland, hence the current discussion. Being young, ignorant and new chums to Wyndham, it took an indigenous person to point out to a group of us that there was a rather large salty in the billabong where we were swimming! Better to be born lucky than rich!!!!!!!!

It does appear though, that the crocs, being territorial, are on the move during the wet looking for new places to live. On a very high tide in Darwin, (March equinox) one small chap decided to go exploring and happily found a quiet home in the Botanical Gardens no less. A nice sandy ‘beach’ and lawn to sunbathe on!! Imagine the surprise of the person who was strolling around the gardens and found the croc doing the same!!!!!! He had managed to walk across a busy road, probably undertaking the journey at night, just after high tide.

Some crocs even manage to find a new home thanks to good people! In Queensland (some government department, apparently not fisheries!) a project was started called ‘Crocs in Space’ which basically translated into tagging a croc with a satellite tracking device, planting him somewhere and see where he ends up. It is believed that most crocs have an accurate ‘homing device’ and find their way back to their territory. Perhaps this was the theory being tested?? Under this program in late 2008, a rather large crocodile was caught in Bamaga (Cape York) and released some 50 miles north of Townsville. This in itself was alarming enough to the people of Townsville who do not usually have crocs so close. It gets worse!!! The croc, not happy with his new location, trundled off to none other than Magnetic Island, found himself a beautiful white sandy beach to call home. I guess whoever was responsible for this, thought it seemed a good idea at the time??? The dive charter companies, along with resort businesses in the area, did not agree and are taking legal action to compensate for loss of income! The croc??…maybe heading for a handbag????????

When we were heading into Crocodile Creek in the Kimberley, we chatted to a Fremantle yacht with three men on board making a quick exit as they had been chased by a rather large croc in their dinghy. They were rowing at the time, so hardly making a noise! We stayed for a few days and saw nothing, although we were sure we were being watched!

A catamaran last season had anchored in Seaplane Bay (between the King George and Berkley Rivers) much to the disgust of a rather large croc. To voice his displeasure, the croc continued to bang his tail against the hull of the cat, and when that failed, he sat across the back of the boat with his tail teaching over the back of one pontoon and his head on the other. The cat was 45’ in length and more than 4m wide! Any attempt by the owners to scare him away was to no avail (they even ran the engines for a while) so they went below and left him to it. Although the crocodile was no-where to be seen in the morning, they did notice him following them out the bay!

One saltie chap, over 3m in length, was found last week to be enjoying the nice tourist town of Coral Bay and surrounds on the WA coast. Quite a way south!!! Not in the brochure as an optional extra, wildlife officers were a little miffed as what to do about the univited guest. We can oly assume that catching the rather large fellow was not in their job description, so in the interests of the local people and tourists, it was shot.

Of course there is also Bill’s croc story of his dinghy being death rolled by a crocodile, just after he had stepped out of it whilst anchored in Honeymoon Bay. The small croc had been hanging around another yacht that had fish hanging form the back of the boat.

The one that ‘takes the cake’ happened the other day. Two young guys decided to take their helicopter and collect some crocodile eggs. They landed near their ‘tinnie’ and off they went up the creek. They had a gun with them, as most station people do. Nothing unusual in that.

One of the young gentleman lent over the side and put his arm underwater to reach down and collect the eggs from the nest. As he was doing this..surprise..mummy was nearby (females always stand guard of their nest in case this very thing happens!) and grabbed his arm. The crocodile tried to pull him in the water. He shouted for his mate to shoot the crocodile. In panic, his mate(#2) indeed took a shot but missed and shot his (mate #1) arm off instead. They managed to get to Darwin Hospital and both survived! This did not reach the of the cruisers works in ED at Darwin Hospital!

We look forward to being somewhere where you can swim off the boat, puddle around in an inflatable and not have to worry about crocodiles!

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