Close encounters with wildlife.........................................

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 19:24
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In my years of travelling the bush I can recall a few unexpected close encounters with wildlife. Some of them were pleasant and some of them downright scary.

Spiders

Isn’t it funny that such a small living thing could produce so much animosity towards it just because it is what it is?

I must admit that I can live without the Arachnida Family. I don’t think it is a fear of but rather a revulsion that lurks somewhere in the human brain.

It was mid winter in the Karoo, South Africa, and we were asleep in bed. It was bitterly cold outside, blowing gale and with a wind chill that brought the temp down to minus 10C. No wonder denizens of the night sought solace in the warmth of a brick house.

In a sleepy daze I told Judith to stop tickling my feet with her feet. She mumbled something indiscernible. And it happened two or three times during the night. In the morning however we got up and went to work as usual.

Later in the day our servant arrived and as it was a Monday, she stripped the bed. African women believe in all kinds of superstitions and spiders have some mystical relation to them…all bad.

She screamed at the top of her lungs and ran from the house. A nearby gardener came to the rescue and dispatched the Baboon spider, which was the size of a person’s hand. Although not poisonous these spiders can inflict a nasty bite
Baboon spiders or tarantulas, as they are known outside Africa, are the giants of the spider world. The last two leg segments resemble the finger of a baboon hence, the common name, baboon spiders.

Whilst still on spiders

I was driving the Toyota Landcruiser one night, while my long time school friend, Andries, was on the look out for spiders’ eyes reflections on the tarmac. He used to collect the spiders for university serum laboratories, so that they in turn, could develop antivenene for spider bites.

Many people are unaware that those bright little objects reflected in the vehicles lights at night at road level are actually spider’s eyes.

This night we were driving along slowly on the tarmac and stopping frequently to catch a spider. A glass jar is placed over the spider, a light piece of cardboard is slid under the Arachnida and then the bottle is turned right way up and a perforated screw-top lid screwed on.

I am not quite sure what happened when we caught a Red Roman spider.

Somehow the lid came loose as it was probably cross-threaded and rolled on its side. The Red Roman escaped, ran over my leg and disappeared under seat. Well, I managed to get out of the truck through the window without touching the sides, whilst the truck was still in motion. Andries was laughing so much he forgot there was no driver and the truck ran off the road, albeit gently and stopped against a bush.

We searched with the torch for the runaway spider but to no avail. It was with great trepidation that I climbed back in behind the steering wheel to continue our search into the night and I was extremely glad to return home after we had filled each bottle with a specimen.

We never did find that Red Roman.


Goanna


I was guiding a couple of birdwatchers on an off track adventure in Kakadu around 1981. They camped in a tent and I swagged it out in the open.

The tropics can get cold in July, believe it or not, and sometime temps can drop down to 1 degree or lower. To stay warm I used to stoke the fire a bit, roll the swag out and camp within reach of the warm heat waves.

Some time in the dead of night I stirred. I felt as if the world had caved in on me. The fire was only a faint glow and there was a presence on my chest. I have been an asthmatic for the greater part of my life and thought at first that I was having an asthma attack. But then I discovered that I was breathing well.

I reached for my torch, as the night was pitch black, even with all the twinkling stars above. The illumination revealed an Old Man Goanna of about a metre in length, lying across my lower chest. Now these Goanna’s have hellishly long claws, so any movement, to get away from potential hurt, has to be gradual. I started to roll on to my side ever so gently and Old Man Goanna slid off gently and sauntered off into the night.


I did not sleep well after that!!!

Saltwater Crocodile


In my time in the Top End of Australia a number of encounters with the reptilian giants, made my blood turn as cold as that of a crocodile.

I teamed up with another bloke and took tourists out on adventures on the South Alligator River. I had the 4x4 and tourist numbers and the partner had a 5 metre fishing boat powered by twin 80hp outboard engines.

The boat was licensed to carry 9 passengers. We ran day trips from the South Alligator River Bridge on the Arnhem Highway, downstream some 20km, to a bird nesting area.

This day saw us in and around the bird sanctuary, marvelling at new life of Spoonbills, Egrets and Cormorants. After a while I told my passengers I would run them up an inlet to look for some of the fabled large goanna’s, which were seen on the plains occasionally. Here I made a small tactical error, as the tide was going out. Not taking too much notice of what was happening I pressed on upstream into this narrow mangrove inlet. Around a bend in the creek I saw a very large crocodile swimming towards us, obviously heading to the deeper waters of the river. There wasn’t going to be space for us to pass each other and I made a hasty decision to turn the boat around. But I had to reverse the boat to turn it around. By this time all passengers on board were well aware of what was happening. The inlet wasn’t wide enough and the boat got stuck sideways in the mud. The crocodile kept swimming towards us. It seemed that it was resolute to ram the boat but managed to dive underneath. Two young ladies on board screamed as the dorsal fins of the crocodile scraped against the hull of the boat. They leapt away to the other side of the boat and the other passengers followed suit. I yelled at them not to do that as the boat came close to rolling on to its side and a mate and I strained like mad on the other side using our weight to counter balance the boat to keep it upright. Everything happened in slow motion. The boat stayed on even keel and the crocodile wriggled away heading downstream

There we were, stuck fast in the mud with the tide receding rapidly. I asked my passengers to all go to the back of the boat so as to get weight away from the bow and without further notice jumped overboard and sank up to my thighs, into the black, mangrove ooze. I attempted to lift the bow to shift it around so that we could get some draught again. It was working, but not enough. So I yelled at my mate, George, who was along as a tourist for this day, to help. He wasn’t too keen to jump in to saurian infested waters. I insisted quite vehemently and in colourful language that he had better help me quickly, and luckily he had a change of heart, and jumped into the mud with me. This took more weight out of the boat and we were able to pivot the boat on its stern and slowly turn it around by rocking it so that the bow was back in the water. It was an extremely messy and smelly event as we churned in the decayed mangrove mud but within minutes we were afloat again. George and I scrambled on board and the boat drifted with the outgoing tide. It my haste to get on board I relinquished one of my shoes to the mud. I thought at that moment that maybe in a million years time some archaeologist would discover my shoe, preserved in rock in pristine condition!

I restarted the engines and tilted them to just below the surface of the water and on slow revs in the swirling black mud, we made our way back to the river.

Quite a number of cold ones were sunk at the South Alligator Pub later that arvo, with the tourists excitingly relating their stories of adventures to others in the bar. I wanted to hide somewhere as the regulars just shook their heads in disbelief and nodded in my direction.

Some time later I had another ‘experience’ at the same bird sanctuary. I had learned my lesson with going up inlets and was content to idle the boat within range of seeing the birds at their best. This time it was a rising tide. We normally made lunch at a mangrove island where there was some dry space to put the tables out for a spread. But the tide was still not high enough for easy access so I decided just to idle the boat in midstream and commandeered a tourist to hold on to steer the boat l while I organised a feed for everyone.

We were sitting there in mid-stream enjoying lunch and champagne when this crocodile surfaced right next to the boat. Now, I had seen many large crocodiles in the wild and in captivity, but this one was huge. A fleeting glance estimated it longer than the boat and about two metres wide. I took command of the Captain’s chair with haste and we sped away from the scene. The crocodile sank again out of sight and left us all very breathless.

Dingo

I was camped at Twin Falls in Kakadu with a mob of customers and enjoying the company and the tropical allure.

We used to get everyone on to air mattresses and I would start a train by lying on my back and paddling with my hands whilst the others held on to the air mattress in front of them. This way they could get whatever sight of the gorge they wanted in a relaxed manner. The convoy would go up as far as the rocks near the falls and then each person would carry their air mattress to the pool below the falls where we would laze around for an hour or two.

Even in the early 1980’s tourism was starting to make its impact in to Kakadu and there were regular incursions into places like Jim-Jim Falls and Twin Falls. Wildlife soon adapt themselves to these incursions and the local Dingoes learned all to quickly that there may just be free tucker to be had around the campfires. The Indigenes had not hunted in these areas for over a hundred years and the Dingoes were happy to find snacks left behind by tourists. They became so brazen that they would come up to a camp in broad daylight and raid any stray tuckerboxes or open tents, whilst the travellers were out enjoying themselves in the cool waters of the gorges.

In the dead of night again, with the fire only embers and ash, I stirred to the feeling of something warm on my face and then something sounding like air escaping. Then something warm again. I opened an eye and looked straight up a Dingo’s nostril. Who got the bigger fright when I jumped up, I do not know, but the Dingo left for better pastures, in a hurry. Sleep evaded me after that. It was also time to start using my tent again.

There are more stories but thats enough for now.


Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 19:52

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 19:52
Seeing as you love spiders heres one for you.
I was feildy for a female geo and it was first thing in the morning. I reignited the fire and we sat around it having a cuppa.
Suddenly a huntsman ran out - stuff escaping the fire is far from rare but it ran straight for her. Not the girliest of girls she just casually moved her chair to the side. it quickly changed directions still straight for her so she moved the other way..........
The spider changed direction.
She jumped out of the chair and stepped back yelling the F$%^rs after me!
It then stopped chasing and arced right up. hunstmen may be placid - but not when you try and torch them alive
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Reply By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:05

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:05
Great yarns Willem. Love stories of life in the bush. I grew up in the outback and have many to tell as a youngster out on a cattle station on the Tanami track in the late 1950's, and the gulf country of Qld, north of Julia Creek and Nelia, at Beeantha, a sheep station, in the early 60's, then life around Darwin up until I went into the Navy in 1965. One day I shall put pen to paper.
Perhaps there could be a members section for yarns of outback experiences on this site???....David....what do you think. Would make for great reading.
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:17

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:17
My old Dad, Fred Goerke, is now 83 and living in Mildura Vic. Boy, does he have some yarns of experiences in the outback, including his accompanying an expedition of anthropologists from the Melbourne Uni in 1957 out to Lake Mackay to look for the Pintubi tribe, or as they called them, the Bindibu tribe. He was at the time, the station mechanic on old Mt. Doreen Stn. (now abondoned).
Fred.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:33

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:33
"One day I shall put pen to paper."....make it soon, none of us knows what lies around the corner.
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:44

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:44
Your'e absolutely right Footy. Don't want to bore anyone on the Forum, but will put finger to the keyboard and see what happens. I think Willem should talk to my old man, as he knows how to relate these old yarns.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:53

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:53
Fred, rekkon you're right. Your old man would have some absolutely fascinating stories.

And if not recorded, one day they will all be gone.

Not sure about the rest here, but I doubt that you'd bore anyone.

I love reading and hearing about life in the bush, I've learned much just by stopping and yarning to the locals.

And if you need any help, give me a yell. (yes I've written some books.. yadda yadda).
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:04

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:04
Footy, It would be an absolute shame to loose what he has to tell mate, that's my greatest concern, as no one can tell it like he can. I would love for someone to spend time with him and get the story of his experiences, because as you say, if not recorded, one day they will be all gone. Let's see what we can do.
Sorry Willem, got sidetracked here, but the topic just got to me.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:16

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:16
Fred, a tape recorder might be the go. He'll love talking about his history...sometimes you need to prod the old memory box etc . Then you can see what you have and work it into a story or historical record etc
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 22:11

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 22:11
The National Sound Archive in Canberra may also be interested.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 00:18

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 00:18
Gday Fred,
Do you know of the Mundy's?

Cheers
Hairy
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 06:33

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 06:33
G'day Hairy..the old fella may..I'll ask him.
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Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:08

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:08
Great stories, Willem.
I'm sitting here with a "house spider" about the size of my palm wandering around my bedroom somewhere. For some reason I don't like the species either, I can never tell the flesh "eating" ones out in the yard so I avoid the lot as well as I can.

Had a bad tempered king brown on the verandah one morning. I'm not keen to repeat the experience. Get a few red and yellow bellied blacks around and for some reason I'm not quite as worried about them.

Seen a few dingoes when out and about, mostly well fed. One took a boot from outside my tent at Purni. The next morning I went looking for it and felt the hair stand up on my neck. Just one small dune away there were five of the beggers, just watching me in a crouched position. I did a bit of yelling back towards camp where there were othet humans. One bloke appeared with his gun and that frightened me more than the dingoes :)

Didn't see any at Razorblade bore where I slept on the ground, but I'm told the place is infested with them.

Floating logs don't turn me on either. I try not to go playing in their territory.

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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:23

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:23
Footy, can relate to what you say...wouldn't live anywhere else, would we?...:-)) Perhaps the spiders could go !!!!! aaaaaghhhh
Fred
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:30

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:30
Fred, not wrong. My wife rekkons I'm a bit of a pussy with em because she's fast enough with her shoe. They seem to escape me for some reason (old and feeble I expect:) I can deal with em around the property, but when they're inside and I don't see em until they drop onto the bed I'm occupying...well it could be time for the pest man or something.
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:39

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:39
I'm hearing ya bro..inside the house or the truck and I'm outa there !!!!!
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:47

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:47
Fred, ah yes. Inside the truck.

Curled up in sleeping bag after a long haul into Boulia where I arrived too late to do anything but sleep in the car.

Opened one eye to check out the starlight and crawling across the windscreen was a large one. Inside the vehicle!

Thank goodness no one was around. The sight of me abandoning the vehicle wrapped in a sleeping bag with beanie and gloves along with everything else I accidently took with me.....
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:54

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 20:54
Footy, sometimes whilst motoring along at speed, it's hard to tell if the buggars are inside or out, and the antics that follow must be somewhat amusing to any that witness what follows.....been there mate...
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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 14:39

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 14:39
I can relate to that.
Some years ago, I was working on a sheep station between Winton and Hughenden, in western QLD. We were just going out to muster one of the paddocks for shearing, and were were riding along the back fenceline (all mustering was done on motorbikes, with a light plane). Anyhow, my mate beside me ran over a king brown snake, and it got tangled up in the rear wheel (we were doing around 80KM/H at the time). Welll, he just stepped straight off the bike as if it were stopped (it wasn't) and both he and the bike went in different directions. When the bike eventually came to rest, some of the snake disappeared down a crack in the ground, and the rest of it was still going around in the back wheel. We were loath to approach the bike, as we weren't sure which bit had gone down the hole, and which bit was still in the bike. Meanwhile the boss in the plane was circling overhead wondering what the hell was going on.

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Follow Up By: Footloose - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 14:49

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 14:49
Stu, I was just picturing the situation. Now that's funny :)))
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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 14:49

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 14:49
More snakes.

We were following the toyota out to the outstation to do some yardwork and then bring the mob closer to the shearing shed when the toyota ran over a Taipan. This taipan was roughly 6 feet long, and about as round as you lower leg (and quite dead).

Anyhow we thought that it would be a bit of a giggle to stretch it out in one wheel track, as there was a bloke coming out on a bike later to give us a hand walking the mob who was terrified of snakes. We went to a great deal of effort to position this snake to give it the "lively look", including propping it's head up on a forky stick, and looking back when we had finished were quite pleased with the results.

We had just finished the yardwork when up comes this other bloke, ready to help us take the mob back. We asked him what sort of a ride he had out to us (to see if he had "found" the snake). It turned out that he was riding in the other wheel track, and didn't see a thing!!!

Talk about disappointment!!! After all that effort!

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Follow Up By: Footloose - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 15:00

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 15:00
I'll bet! I'm not fussed on handling snakes, alive or dead!
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Reply By: Kev & Darkie - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:04

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:04
Willem,

I just had one of those experiences.
I just stepped outside bare foot to throw some stuff in the bin as you do and had a cane toad decide that he wanted my foot as a launching pad to get inside the house. Need I say he succeeded by a little more than he anticipated and is now resting in the deep freeze till early monday morning when the rubbish is collected :))

Cheers Kev
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.

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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:08

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:08
Hey Kev, keep the canetoads up there mate.....us cockaroaches don't want to see them until May...LOL....:-)))

Fred.
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Follow Up By: Kev & Darkie - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:10

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:10
I reckon I could have some delivered on Sunday when SWMBO flys down to Sydney ha ha ha ha ha
Russell Coight:
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Follow Up By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:28

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:28
hehehehehehehehehehehehe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 08:57

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 08:57
Got a couple of cane toad stories too.
Way back when, before marriage, the wife to be and I were camping at Woodgate, north of Maryborough on the coast. When it was just a few farmers shacks and a local shop that opened occasionally.
Wife happens to hate cane toads. Can't stand the creatures. We discovered that at night if you shine a torch on a cane toad, it stops moving. So she would do her loo trip at night with a torch, and shine it on each cane toad she came across as she approached, and it would stop moving. Now the problem is that area has a lot of cane toads, and you will often find at least 10 or 20 within torch range, so you need to decide which toad is the closest, and keep flicking from one toad to the next. Of course me coming along saying 'look out for that one' or 'that one' creates an interesting scenario of quick dashes and a good light show of torch flickering. Seriously, I tried not to wind her up too much :o)
Yes, I had to go, since I had to check the loo for toads and shoo them out before it could be used. Only having the one torch though meant that I needed the torch to find them, while the brave girl waited outside in the dark, with the toads getting ever nearer.
Had a great weekend.
Driving home later at night, the cane toads were so thick on the road you couldn't miss them. Just the continuous sound of plops as toads got squashed and flicked up into the mud guards.
Just like driving on the beach covered with blue bottles, almost sounds like machine gun fire, but heavier.
I got used to cane toads when with a few mates we used to go to the local oval and sit on the front fenders of the old Austin with a golf club each and drive around seeing how many we could get. Good cheap Saturday night entertainment.

Toads don't seem to be so many these days. Must be the drought.
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Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:03

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:03
"Toads don't seem to be so many these days"

They've all moved interstate :)))

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Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:20

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:20
Gramps,

like your WC Fields quote.

Didn't he also say "golf is a poor excuse to spoil a good walk." or something similar.
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Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:46

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:46
Oldplodder,

You're probably thinking of "Golf is a good walk spoiled" - Mark Twain. Agree, it is definitely something that Fields could have said.

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Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:54

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 09:54
Thanks for the correction.
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Reply By: Member - Axle - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:18

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:18
Christ!! Willem i'm a light sleeper at the best of times!



That footsy stuff!! U sure a big ,,,,,,,,Nah won't go there!,

Great stories, you have achieved a lot over the years, a lot of australians can only dream of your encounters, If i don't get off my arse soon I'll be one of them!....LOL.


Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:28

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 21:28
Yeah Axle, just when we thought it was safe to go back into the bush....Willem puts this post up......Thanks from all of us light sleepers Willem...hahahahahahahahahahah...I do have a croc story I'll tell one day soon...a dad, his son and a dog on a fishing day at Casuarina Beach, Darwin.1965.
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Reply By: Bros 1 - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 22:02

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 22:02
Willem,
To read of your exploits makes me envious. Spiders, snakes and gooeys don't overly worry me that much unless they lob onto you unexpectantly. Wild pigs are a worry if i have not got a gun.
The only close encounter i have had was with a pig at Cape Flattery, north of Cooktown.
Me and five other blokes were camped on the eastern end of the beach in the bay. We all had a late night hitting the slops.
At approximately 2.30 in the morning one of the blokes on his stretcher 3 feet from me was woken up by this horrible smell. He opened his eyes and there was this huge black and white feral pig staring at him from 1 foot away. Well he jumped up yelling and the effect was pandemonium as blokes either fell out of their stretchers or got tangled in their sleeping bags. Talk about panic. We had three dogs with us and they never uttered a sound until we erupted. When the pig took off the dogs took off after it followed by two blokes with guns and no torch. When we heard a couple of shots we all hit the ground and stayed there until they returned minus the pig. We had a good laugh about it later after a few bracers, but at the time "$hit$ were trumps".
Cheers,
Bros.
Work is the curse of the down and out bludger.

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Follow Up By: Gramps (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 22:12

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 22:12
Were the bloody dogs on the slops as well :)))

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Reply By: Bros 1 - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 23:15

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 23:15
Gramps,
I suppose they were a bit overawed until the ruckus started and then were champing at the bit. One of them came back a bit torn up around the breast. What the two blokes with guns were shooting at still puzzles me.
Cheers,
Bros.
Work is the curse of the down and out bludger.

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Reply By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 10:50

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 at 10:50
Very interesting Willem , thanks . I guess when we travel around the outback we must eventually have a few close encounters .

I can remember being bitten by a bull ant that had got down to the bottom of my sleeping bag .

Probably the worst close encounters I have had were on a 12' tinnie trip out from the mouth of the Drysdale River . There was no wind , but a small swell and we were , as usual going as fast as the boat would go with a 25 on the back . We came off the top of a wave and landed flat on a large turtle . Both of us nearly ended up overboard .

After we reached the lee of a small island we tossed out the anchor in about 30 feet of gin clear water . I was standing on the front seat fly fishing and my mate was down the back casting a popper .

Suddenly the biggest tiger shark I have ever seen went under the boat at a depth of about 6'. She went straight across underneath and her pectoral fins stretched as long as the tinnie . She had a huge squared off head and mottled spots all over . I reckon after a seeing a lot of sharks game fishing , she was in excess of 1000 lb .

We nearly died of fright and both sat down on the floor of the boat not making a sound . After 10 minutes we carefully pulled the anchor up and got the hell out of there . Phew !

I have had a lot of close encounters with crocs , the worst being when a croc followed a lure up to the side of the boat and hit the hull while we were fishing at Shady Camp . I do not fish at night any more .

A few times I have had to get out of the boat and push it off sandbanks on the Mary and South Alligator Rivers . Not a thing I recommend .

I guess we all have had a few close encounters with snakes and I have only ever had one actually strike . Luckily it was at my mates legs and he had waders on . I think now that I have perfected my backwards Ninja leap , I am safe .

Willie
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