Trevor the Crocodile jumps out of the water to catch his daily treat
14 July 2015
Our free morning was spent catching up on some washing, and having a walk along the harbour foreshore on a beautiful sunny day. Apparently it had been the coolest morning in several weeks and the locals thought it was freezing! There are some beautiful views across the harbour along the walk and the War Memorial takes pride of place.
Lunch was at Salvatores near our hotel, and we were ready to be collected for our Jumping Crocs tour by 1.30pm. This tour had not been our initial choice, but for some reason the Wildlands Wetlands Safari was unavailable and we were offered the crocs as an alternative.
Our tour began at the Adelaide River, home to over 1,600 crocodiles. After we boarded the vessel we were asked to ensure that we keep to either the right or left side of the boat (so we didn’t topple over!) and to keep all limbs inside the boat – obviously everybody agreed to this, especially as the first crocodile cruised up to us. These are salt water crocodiles, as opposed to fresh water (“freshies”) who are quite shy and would prefer to swim away from you – obviously the ones who eat you are the “salties” who head straight for their prey.
A very brave young woman hangs fresh meat on a looong rope on a long pole and dangles it over the vessel, slapping the meat on the water to entice the crocodile who swims up to the bait and after some short time leaps out of the water to grab the meat. It is amazing that such a large animal, with short legs, can leap so far out of the water. Our first crocodile was a fairly large one, and had a few attempts before he finally grabbed some of the meat – apparently (according to our guide who seemed very knowledgeable about crocodiles and their ways , these animals do not eat a lot of food). A very cute 3-year old croc who has been named “Fluffy” leapt almost completely out of the water. Fluffy is one of the youngest crocs, so must be wary of the bigger crocs around (who could eat him), so he scuttled back to the shore fairly quickly, and our guide kindly threw some meat, wrapped in a paper bag) on to the shore for Fluffy to retrieve when he felt brave enough.
Then the final act was the local King Crocodile Trevor who finally appeared to take a bow and leap out of the water for the tasty morsel offered to him – don’t like the look of those teeth!
We then left the crocodiles in peace, and ventured on to the lovely Window on the Wetlands Centre, the exhibits were among the best we have seen, and there is a wonderful view over the surrounding Marrakai Plains from an outdoor deck.
After leaving this peaceful spot we drove to the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve, a haven for wildlife and local Aboriginal history. The monsoon and eucalypt forest, melaleuca woodland and open water attract a diverse range of birds, reptiles, mammals and marsupials. Signs warn visitors that crocodiles do come to this area, and we saw one resting among the water lilies! We only ventured outside the coach when we were close to the viewing platform, and didn’t stay there long, although we know that crocodiles, with their short legs, can’t walk uphill or up steps, so we felt relatively safe! Wetlands are the most beautiful, serene places to visit, and the birds put on a wonderful show for us – egrets, whistling ducks, ibis, grebes etc. and even some wallabies were sharing the vast space. If you have a touch screen you will be able to enlarge the images below to see more detail of the birds.
Finally we were heading home after a wonderful afternoon of viewing nature at its most violent, and its most serene.
So remember –
“Never smile at a crocodile, never tip your hat and stop to chat a while,
Don’t be taken in by his welcome grin, he’s imagining how well you’ll fit within his skin………”
This is to be our last night in Darwin, and we will head off to Cullen Bay to Seafood Cullen restaurant, recommended to us as a great place for seafood buffet, and it was excellent!
Tomorrow we join the Ghan from Darwin, and travel overnight to Alice Springs, stopping on the way at the spectacular Katherine Gorge. Hope you can join us.