We opted for the ‘authentic’ experience with the only tour which is officially within the national park – it had to be the best, right? We arrived at the layby in good time and met Ernie, our guide, who set off at a pace down a narrow path into the mangroves with a cheery ‘let’s go’. Now I’d already read that crocodiles inhabit the edges of water, so I positioned myself very close to Ernie, confident he’d spot any crocs lurking beside the path. Up we go into a fairly small tin boat and before we even get settled down, he points to the two crocs at the other side of the river (middle photo). A male, 4m and a female about 3m. Now I know you can hardly see them with no camera zoom, just a slight bulge at the edge of the river, but you can see how close it was.
I asked Ernie how to tell the difference between a male and female. He replied ‘the male has a face like a dropped pie, like me’. So now you have a good picture of Ernie. But he was a very good croc spotter. He spotted a baby croc, only about 12″ on a mud bank and it was so hard to see, we were very impressed with that.
On our way back we saw another female and stopped a while to watch her. She gave us a great pose, mouth wide open, to cool her brain. And I can say that’s about as close to a croc as I’d ever like to be, but it was an awesome sight. Without Ernie to take us back up the path, I decided to believe it that the spiky short mangrove growth wouldn’t be comfortable for a low lying croc, but went at a pace nevertheless.