Saltwater crocodiles are close enough to living, breathing, terrifying sea monsters. Capable of growing to over 20 feet long and weighing a tonne, they are the the largest of all living reptiles and the largest riparian predator in the world. Saltwater crocodiles were in the news recently in recent stories from Australia. The first was frightening, but ended well, while the second was tragic.
Ryan Blair, a kayaker from New Zealand, was dropped off by boat on the remote Governor Island in Northern Australia off the Timor Sea. When Blair attempted to paddle the three miles back to the mainland, he was intercepted by a 20 foot long crocodile. He managed to paddle back to the island but found himself trapped as every time he attempted to leave, the crocodile returned. After two weeks, Blair was finally rescued when he was spotted by boatman Don MacLeod from the small nearby town of Kalumburu. MacLeod said the crocodile was “very, very, very large,” one of the biggest he’d seen in the area.
Sean Cole, 26, was not so lucky. While at a birthday party on the Mary River, about 65 miles from Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, he ignored signs to stay out of the water. Cole and another man swam across the river. On their way back, Cole was was attacked by a crocodile. Sometime later, the police recovered his body.
“Several of the group in the party witnessed the male being taken in the jaws of the croc for a period of time, and then he was out of sight,” Senior Sergeant Geoff Bahnert was quoted as saying by the AP news agency.
“The Mary River is known worldwide to have the greatest saturation of adult saltwater crocodiles in the world. You don’t swim in the Mary River,” he added.