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Riding the buses » Memorable moments, Wildlife » Getting stuck in Alligator River, Australia

Getting stuck in Alligator River, Australia

Saltwater Croc, Photo credit: Mila ZinkovaMatthew Reinhardus travels for wildlife and scenery – and not the usual kind.

One of my favourite places in Australia was Darwin because that’s where all the crocs are. I just needed to find a way to see them other than going out in a croc-tour boat where they throw some meat over the side to attract the croc, which seemed too touristy to me. So when I was talking to a local tour guide at a pub, I asked him if he would take me out on the Alligator River, which has the biggest concentration of saltwater crocodiles. I would bring the beer and pay for the gas. He said, cool. What I did not know was that the boat was going to be smaller than most of the crocs but you learn these things with time.

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It was rainy season and we couldn’t really see the crocs, just their eyes, so we couldn’t gauge their size. If I had been there at another time of the year I would have seen them sunning all along the sides of the river. We spent the whole day going up and down that river until our boat got stuck. That was the first time I saw the guide get nervous for a croc was moving over towards us. The guide even let me hold the paddle…just in case. But he finally got us out.

I spent time in other places in Australia, such as the Whitsundays in the Great Barrier Reef. These are gorgeous, gorgeous islands. I was going to stay there for a week and ended up staying for a month with the family of someone I’d met in Banff, Canada. I did a lot of great snorkelling.  Then I caught a free ride down the coast all the way to Sydney with a guy whose job it was to find a stolen car. So we had lots of time for sightseeing and it is just beautiful along there.

Still, Darwin and the crocs were really special.

This interview with Matthew Reinhardus has been condensed and edited.

© Riding the buses 2011

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