- The Journey
As we make our way down “The Track” towards Kakadu National Park, my mind begins to wander away from the hustle and bustle of Darwin City as I became swept up by the beauty of the wild Top End. A road train breaks me out of my day dreaming state and brings me back to the reality of where I am. Australia.
This doesn’t feel like the Australia I know. Coming from the busy streets of Footscray and the deafening sound of jet engines, this feels like the Australia I’ve seen in movies. I expect Mick “Crocodile” Dundee to come leaping out from behind a pandanus palm or Skippy the Bush Kangaroo to run out in front of us. But it doesn’t happen. It’s calm yet exciting as I watch the beautiful Black Kites sailing above the fires they have just lit, searching for lizards and snakes who are seeking refuge from the flames
Our destination today is The Spectacular Jumping Crocs. I have distant memories of this cruise from when I was younger. Sitting on a small boat, cramped with strangers surrounding me and sweltering in the ridiculously hot NT sun. To say the least I was apprehensive of what was ahead of me. I get my tickets and look on as a tour group gasps and applaud their showman of a coach driver as he poses and passes around a large snake. The tour group eat this up as I stand back hoping not to make eye contact with the huge reptile… or the snake.
“Can ya’z all jump in a line so we can get ready to head down to the vessel”. Luckily for me, I happened to be at the front of the line without noticing, waiting for further instruction as I peeked over the side of the fence, hoping for a glimpse of the huge amphibian I was here to see. “Please keep your heads and arms and anything else inside the railings”. Yikes!
- On board at Adelaide River
Down the fenced walk way we go. I let out a sigh of relief as we head past the small metal boat I remember, head through a huge multi level boat and walk on to a brand new, clean, shaded boat of my crocodile cruising dreams. We take our seats along the bench right next to the feeding platform. I rest my feet on the bottom railing, taking the opportunity to work on my tan. “Wait, there are crocodiles in there” I remember. I think it’s best if I find another opportunity somewhere else to work on the pigment of my skin.
We make our way up the mighty Adelaide River on the look out for some basking crocodiles but instead find birds. Huge, majestic birds. A white bellied sea eagle watches us as we cruise past him perched atop a burnt out tree. Black Kite’s circle above us, hoping for some meat scraps to be flung into the air. Then we see her. Our first spotting of a croc. My heart begins to race. This is what I had hoped this experience would be like. The distant memories of hot, bored and crowded are gone. As Big Kev would say, “I’m excited!”
We slowly make our way closer as the reptile slithers down the bank and towards the boat. With the feeder ready with her buffalo meat and bamboo pole, the action begins. We watch quietly as she taps the buffalo flesh on top of the water, tantalizing the crocodile to grab some morning tea.
To be continued…
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