Friday, November 7, 2008

Never Smile at a Crocodile...

No turtles last night, but plenty of crocs. Not sure if it just me however they seemed much bigger in the spotlight than through the day time.

We had our first “near miss” last night whilst out on the beach.

When we go out we take both quads. Brett and Kelsey (B & K) ride up front with the spotlight and follow the same track to count the turtles that cross over since our last look. I follow about 50m behind generally minding my own business and keeping an eye out for,…… whatever!! No light on my bike other than the head spots we wear.

Whilst heading along the beach last night the crocs seemed concentrated in one particular area of the beach waiting for the hatchlings to emerge. I didn’t see it up ahead, however a croc was further up the beach than normal, which B & K had seen in the spotlight.

As we were cruising along the beach, often slowing to have a closer look at the crocs as they sat “just” in the water, heads out, we sort of forgot about the one on the beach, assuming it had headed to the water as they normally do.

We slowed to check a smallish croc, and I let B & K get ahead as normal. As I was starting to get a bit of speed up, I caught one red eye about 10m away to my right moving like Carl Lewis towards the water about 2 foot off the ground. It was a very healthy 4.2m croc. We were both moving at the same pace and were on a collision course of which I am not sure what the outcome to would have been.

At the same time B & K seemed to have realised that he hadn’t seen the croc and spun the bike and the spotlight around. This startled the croc a bit, and pushed straight towards me. It startled me too because for the first time I realised how big this bloody thing was through the back drop of the spotlight.

At this point everything moved in slow motion. I was now between the croc and the water, with my exit route fairly limited with the big blue ocean, and number of reptile neighbours, about 5m to my left. The pan or the fire? Hmmmm, might just sit on the fence for a minute!!!!

I sat tight, and thankfully our rather large friend decided to perform a “Benji Marshal” sidestep with about 3m to spare, and crashed into the water like a belly flop champion from the 15m board!!

All of this took about 10 seconds, however it seemed longer. I reckon he is the luckiest croc on the island. He just didn’t know who he was messing with. GRRRR!! Oh wombats grunt! GRUNT!!

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