Tuesday, 5 August 2014 – Sunday, 10 August 2014 96.2kms
Nath changed the flat tyre for the spare off the van as we realised that our spare rim on the car is dicked from falling off at Hill End and we had forgotten to replace it.
We took it for a test drive down towards the river mouth. We didn’t find the mouth, but drove for about 20kms, which was a lot further than we thought we would have to go. When the cracked, dry saltpans started to get sloppy, we turned around and headed back to camp to pack up and move 4kms upriver. By the time we were ready to move, we were once again racing the sun. Our new spot is better though and well worth the move. We have more water in the river and even crocodiles, which means there is fish!
On our first morning in our new camp spot as the sun was rising, I was lying in bed while Nath rummaged around in the back of the car to free one of his fishing rods for an early morning fish. All of a sudden there was a raucous on the opposite bank that caught my attention. A big kangaroo came crashing over some fallen trees, landing badly. It picked itself up quickly and continued to bound full pelt towards the river. I started shouting at Nath to “look, look, look”, which of course doesn’t tell him which way to look! The kangaroo made the edge of the river in about 3 big, fast bounds and then jumped as far as it could into the water and went under. I saw on the bank behind it a big golden dingo had stopped high above the water level. It had been chasing the roo and had clearly scared it out of its mind. No sane animal would jump willing as far as it could into a crocodile river! The kangaroo surfaced again and seemed to be trying to swim. I called to Nath that the kangaroo was trying to swim to our side of the river. Within seconds, it started to turn around and head back to the bank closest to it and I saw why…. A huge crocodile had appeared from nowhere and was right behind it. I called out “a crocodile is going to eat the kangaroo” and then there was a splash and both the kangaroo and crocodile were gone. All of this took place in about 15 seconds, from the initial crash of the kangaroo coming down onto the bank to it being taken by a crocodile. By now Elokin and Hendrix had made it onto the bed with me, but both they and Nath had missed the whole scene.
Around lunch time Nath and I were sitting in our camp chairs high on the bank when a reef shark jumped completely out of the water by at least a metre, flipped and then disappeared back into the water. Nath had his eyes shut and missed the whole thing!
The next morning we watched as a huge crocodile swam downstream with a kangaroo or at least part of it, in its mouth. We believe it to be the one I saw yesterday.
In the afternoon, the four of us sat admiring the river from our camp chairs high on the bank. On our side, there was not a breath of wind. We looked across and saw the tree tops bending in a strong wind that we could hear. Upon closer inspection, Nath discovered it was a willy-willy moving up the bank.
On Friday it was Nath’s Birthday. Something changed and the river was different. We didn’t see a single crocodile anywhere on the banks where we would normally see them or swimming in the river. There was an almost eerie feeling about, it was very bizarre. Nath did lots of fishing off the bank, but the only fish caught were catfish, and a few of them. He also caught a few small mud crabs in the dilly that were all safely released.
On Saturday morning, we watched as 8 big crocodiles headed downriver cruising on top of the water.
A couple of hours later a big gust of wind blew in and with it came the tide. It came in quickly and got the highest we have seen it and we lost most of our bank. Along with the water came the crocodiles back. The first one to arrive landed on the bank opposite us and through my camera I could see it had food in its mouth. It looked very fat already, but proceeded to put on a huge show for us. It lifted its head up high and began to chop on its meal of kangaroo. It was the same one again.
After a few chomps with its almighty jaws, it flicked its tail up as it launched its body out of the water standing on its back legs. It threw its huge head around and landed again.
Again it chomped its food, but didn’t swallow all of it. It began to make its way upriver a short distance, so I decided to follow. While on my way Nath and Elokin began yelling at me that it was doing it again. The three of them got to watch it jump up in the air again, I got to see it eating with its head up in the air again. It then moved up onto the bank, fat and content to lie in the sun.
His slumber was interrupted by another big male croc cruising up to the side of it, laying in waiting. They turned to face each other and the new comer spun to avoid the altercation. Our fat friend chased it off and it left at a speedy pace, tail swishing the water.
I followed the loser of the disturbance, nicknamed “white lips”, as he headed upriver. Not too far up, he found another male to have a go at. He won that rumble and sent the loser scrambling up and along the bank to get away. On the bank was another smaller croc, and it left as soon as the big guy came close. Wise move I believe. The big guy then slinked onto the bank and lay in the sun. All up, Elokin and I counted 10 big (up to 3+ m) and huge (over 4m) salties lazing on the bank in the sun in just our stretch of river.
On Sunday morning we got up and started to pack down the camper as we had planned on leaving. We had been looking at the river on and off and after a while, Nath discovered that the tide had come in higher than yesterday and in as much time as it took to boil the kettle; somehow we had missed it. Well, with a quick family discussion, we were staying another day to watch it come in tomorrow morning, as we didn’t want to miss the “wave”. With the tide higher than we had seen before, Hendrix was able to fish with a lure off the top bank so he was stoked.
In the afternoon we went for another drive towards the mouth to see how much the tide had come in there. It was out now so we stopped where the landcruiser was buried in the mud bank for a look. Nath discovered millions of mullet lining the shore so threw the cast net around for some bait. Most of them must have been too small as they were getting out of the net. He did manage to get over a dozen, so that was good.
Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.