Wednesday, December 1, 2010


As we drove from Litchfield Park towards Kakadu Park, my crocodile fears began to return. It didn't help that the National Park was known for its crocs and that at the entrance we were greeted by a large sign warning of the eminent danger. However, with the fear came excitement and my eyes frantically darted left and right scanning the bush and waterways for the infamous creature.

Our first destination was the South Alligator River. The name is a bit of a misnomer since any large reptiles living in its waters would be crocodiles not alligators! The track to the river skirts a seasonal billabong. Due to the late spring rains there was still some water in the area. With the sun high in the sky there was not much activity, but we suspected that the area was an oasis for wildlife and birds during sunrise and sunset. After a short 2.5 km hike from the campground we arrived at the river. Signs warning of crocodiles kept me from approaching the water. Instead I stayed high on the bank and peered down at the river through the trees.

On our return trek to the campground I noticed just to the side of the trail a huge imprint in the dried mud. I couldn't help but wonder if the several meter long print was left by a croc? When I pointed it out to Mark, he argued that we were hundreds meter from the river and there was no way that impression was left by a gigantic reptile. However, later that evening while telling yarns with some fellow campers we learned that up to just a couple of weeks before the Alligator River had over-flowed and had reached the campground .  While this information allowed me to gloat over the possibility that what we saw earlier was a print left by a croc, at the same time I began to wonder if sleeping in a tent was a wise idea. Maybe there was a reason everyone had congregated in the center of the campgrounds? Would  our solitude would make us easy prey for a hungry predator. Ahhhhh, the thrill of the Australian bush. 

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