Thursday, February 17, 2011

Darwin, land of the crocodiles

In Darwin, you do not walk within 5 meters of any body of water because there are so many crocodiles.  A bit unbelievable...but true. 

 We read numerous accounts of people who did not follow this advice.  The crocodiles are very dangerous.  There is an average of at least one attack per year on humans.  The stories that we read about the attacks were crazy.

On the road to see some crocodiles up close, we drove through some marshy wetlands.  There were a few stops to get out and look at birds but then you drove on a narrow road.  Next to the narrow road was a sign that said under no circumstances should you ever walk on this road because of the crocodiles and pythons in the area.  Crazy.

Jake befriended the resident python (a pet) at the Jumping Crocodile Cruise shop.

Here goes nothing!!  Kim was excited to see the wild crocodiles up close.  The whole process is kind of bizarre.  You sit on this boat cruising the Adelaide River.  Upon arrival on the boat, the driver tells you that for no reason do you stick any portion of your body over any part of the boat because if a crocodile grabs it, the driver isn't coming in after you to save you.  Good to know.

Every once in a while the boat stops and the driver looks around for a crocodile swimming towards the boat.  If he sees one, his assistant gets a slab of meat and hooks it to the end of a rope, connected to a pole.  She puts the meat next to the water to tease the crocodile.  Then she lifts it up high in the air, forcing the crocodile to jump all the way out of the water to get it.  (He actually has to go through this two times on different sides of the boat before he/she will get to eat the meat.)   It was really fascinating.

As the various crocs approach, they eye everyone in the boat.  They are deciding what they want to eat.  Fortunately, they go for the easiest food, which in this case is the meat on the rope.  But he/she will have to work for it.

This was a little one but look how far she jumps out of the water.

Another female.

We saw mostly female crocs, but the one in these two photos was a 4 meter long male....and he was a bit scary to see up close.

The crocodile tour was fascinating and well worth the visit.

Other photos from around Darwin:
One of the many termite mounds.

Local cattle

WW2 Oil Storage tunnels that were never used but interesting to see.

The safe way to swim in Darwin.  It is a wave pool that is right next to the ocean...but you don't have to worry about crocodiles or jellyfish stingers.

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