November 13, 2008

Swimming with crocodiles might not be that smart an idea

LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - As the Admiral and I prepare for our sojourn south when the semester ends, I have been getting in contact with folks who might want me to write stories for them this year, including my friend Alistair Bell of the international wire service, Reuters.

Reuters London newsroom
Reuters London newsroom

When I told him I was would be back and ready to report by Jan. 1, he didn't say anything British, like, 'how smashing.' But he say it will be great to have me back on "crocodile watch."

And, I suppose, I might write some things, too.

The standing joke between us last year was that I was to call him immediately if a croc snagged a tourist - more newsworthy for him, of course, if it was a wealthy Brit. But any tourist would do.

After a dog was taken by a large croc last spring from the beach - in a pretty dramatic witnessed episode - it became much less funny.

It would seem to be even more so now, as I have been reading about the boldness of the La Manzanilla crocodiles this fall - and how far the lagoon has extended to the beach area where children gather.

In the meantime, in Australia, there's a new tourist attraction: tourists climb in a clear acrylic cage and get lowered into the water with saltwater crocodiles. The ultimate thrill, some of the swimmers have said.

I can't quite imagine getting into a tank like that and letting one of those 2,000 pound behemoths get a shot at me - no matter how tough the tank is supposed to be.
  • Link to: What a Croc!

  • Swimming with saltwater crocs
    In the tank with a crocodile in Northern Australia

    Several years ago in Zihuatenejo, I was walking with three Australian fellows from Queensland who had sailed in. We were taking swings of beer from jumbo beer bottles when the trio suddenly bolted and ran back the way we came, running like the devil himself was after them.

    What made them run was a 10-foot crocodile, sitting motionless in a small lagoon near the shore, maybe 100 feet from where we were about to pass.

    I walked back to where they stopped (hard to run with a beer bottle in your hand) and tried to tell them that I thought was no real danger.

    They said 'forget it mate.'

    In Australia, they explained, saltwater crocs can - and do occasionally - run a man down and drag him back into the water, just like the unlikely named canine 'Lucky' last year in La Manzanilla.

    Ever since, I try to keep a nice buffer between me and even the relatively mellow La Manzanilla creatures.

    1 comment:

    VisitLaManzanilla said...

    I picked up two hikers trudging into town last week and give them a lift to the campground, well to as close to the campground as I was willing to drive. I told them to just walk around the lagoon and follow the road, also to be sure to look for the crocs as they are happily living at the edge of the lagoon.

    I ran into them the next day and it seems during the evening they were walking back into town and nearly stepped on the tail of a very large croc....they decided to go ahead and walk the beach from now on!