Safe anchoring and dangerous crocodiles

4 July 2016
Femke Lobach

DSC06093A crocodile is a protected species here in Cairns. There are too many crocodiles and not enough food. That makes even human meat attractive. ‘I wouldn’t stick a finger in this water’ is what a wannebee-Crocodile-Dundee says to us on the docks. And indeed no one is swimming or even bathing.

Suddenly we hear; ‘Kings Magic, Kings Magic…’ Is that Kings Legend? Before I can react, Gijs runs, dives from the stairs and grabs the VHF. He swears and fumes. It’s our French neighbor. ‘They took our dinghy’ ‘What the hell…’

I am flabbergasted; we are at the fuel pontoon, to fuel up. We left our dinghy with a line attached to the anchor chain. Anchoring is a huge hassle here with soft mud and horrible holding grounds. Once it holds, it holds so we decided to leave it attached to our Zodiac. A wise decision, until a pilot came along and saw a floating dinghy. And took it! Not checking if it was tied to an anchor chain. They pulled the dinghy and pulled it, until the rope broke the ring and handles. And the anchor chain fell down. In this crocodile invested area!DSC06096

I still can’t believe it. How can a dinghy stay in one position with current and wind? How can they even think it was drifting? Not only that, they lied to us and said they found the dinghy in the mangroves! Luckily enough our neighbor sailor saw what happened.

It is five o’ clock in the evening. No anchor, no place to go. No diver is willing to go in this dark water. So Gijs and Ruud decide to drag for the anchor with a hook on a line and their hands in the water! Do you know how fast a crocodile can be? It appears out of nowhere.

Three weeks ago a woman who walked on the riverbanks, was pulled in and disappeared in a few seconds. The croc did a runner with her and nothing was ever found again. Yesterday I saw a few fishermen throw out a fish on a line, letting the dead fish splash as a potential prey. In a few minutes a crocodile surfaced to grab the fish and the line and almost the fisherman as well. Any thoughts of dangling with my feet in the water evaporated like snow in sunshine.

DSC06100Meanwhile Gijs and Ruud started dragging and I watch from a distance. Slowly the night is settling and they are still trying. In my mind I visualize this croc jumping on the dinghy, I better go inside and start cooking, no need to watch and think of what might happen.

It is completely dark when Gijs steps back on board again and says, ‘we got it’. He still has two hands and two feet. Phew.

Just another day gone by, dinnertime.

2 comments to “Safe anchoring and dangerous crocodiles”

  1. Els Mannaerts says:

    Wat een avonturen, nu al. Ben ik even blij met onze Bergse Maas en het Hollands Diep, Haringvliet en Grevelingen, ons terrein! Morgen komt je moeder hier eten, ik denk wel dat ze aftelt. Zorg je dat alles er nog aan zit, als je terugkomt. Behouden vaart. Liefs Els Mannaerts

  2. Arendo Joustra says:

    Great story with happy end!