Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Crocodile Lake!

Crocodiles are a daily consideration up here and they get big!  All waterways at our house are referred to as "Crocodile Lake" which was taken from a Dora the Explorer movie where Dora couldn't cross the river because of the crocodiles....

We've seen them as big as almost 5m in length and there's something prehistoric about them - like swimming T-Rexs.  For kids growing up it's hard to teach them what water is safe to swim in and what is most certainly not.  After watching a mumma turtle, over a metre wide and longer in length, lay her eggs on the beach a few weeks ago, we were on our way down to the mouth to fish when in the corner of my eye I saw a big splash and something brown and scaly thrashing in the water and before I could readjust my eyes to see what it was; it was gone..... until it resurfaced a moment later.  Laying flat on the top of the ocean about 50m off the beach was the "Black Croc" - an infamously enormous and cunning crocodile that frequents our camping beach - with a  mumma turtle in its jaws.  It thrashed about every 10mins or so but held her under in an attempt to drown her.  The process took about an hour to devour and in the end the croc just floated home to the mouth with it still in it's mouth.  The kids went to kindy and daycare the next day and show-and-tell consisted of the photos of the whole life cycle from egg laying to croc-attacks, glued onto cardboard in their own little projects....

Because there are crocodiles in every waterway, whether they're fresh or salty, you have to be so careful.  We've been out on a friend's property, running the cheribin pots (fresh water prawns/crays that grow to about 40cm) in their man-made dam situated several kilometers from any waterway a few times. They're delicious with garlic and butter on the coals!  It's a giant fresh water dam with a rock/sandy wall and you tie the pots to the trees and check them on the hour.  My friend spends her Christmas' swimming in this dam and there's permanent watersport nets set up on the side ready for volleyball.  I have a rule - never swim if you can't see the bottom (or what's coming for you).  A week or two after we left there was another couple out there and as she pulled in her pot, a crocodile snapped it and wrestled her for it!  Needless to say, we'll be going back out this holiday to 'catch it'.... We can't have it eating our cheribin.  This croc would have had to have walked kilometers in 40C heat to get in there so you can't trust any waterway!

We also frequent the Wenlock River quite often. It's fresh and shallow and perfect for swimming - just not in the dark bits....  People hunt around this river because the pigs come down at night to drink.  Our mate "Red" has several hunting dogs and they're not all croc-savvy so after a hunt they were all hot and sticky so his "Hairy Goat" which it was affectionatly called jumped into the dark bit and began to paddle around.  Red turned around to watch his dog moving like a perescoped submarine into the middle of the dam and then it was gone.  Quick and silent.

Never swim in the dark bits.

We moved up into the Cape when my son was just 5months old so it's all he knows.  On a trip to Cairns last holidays he sat on the side of the pool and refused to get in saying it was "Crocodile lake".  He sat on the bank for over 3hrs refusing to get in until we realised that there were painted pictures of marine creatures on the bottom.....  Dad and I got out after awhile and we were baking on the side when both kids starting screaming out "Snake!" and were quite panicked.  We went across to see what all the commotion was and saw the giant anaconda..... attached to the pool vaccuum....

Better to be safe than sorry..... or eaten.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Cassie, definately the best blog I have ever read - you are living such an adventure!!