Well we sadly parted ways with the lovely Lange family today and headed for Jabiru. Hopefully we will meet up somewhere else down the track for some more fun together!
|Bye Andrew, Laura and kids.....hope to catch up soon!!|
On the way to the ‘Jumping Crocodile Cruise’ (very exciting) we visited the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. This is located about 65km east of Darwin.
We did a walk that leads you through forests that borders the flood plain. An easy walk that didn’t offer a lot of wildlife, which might have been because it was the middle of the day.
We did however see a wild pig with what seemed like 20 piglets scurrying off into the forest. Ella was standing there trying to call them over with a cute little voice (Bindi Irwin II at it again).
Frank started to talk about a wild pig's ferocious tendencies. This caused Charlie’s anxiety levels to rise. He grabbed my hand and we were out of that forest faster than you could say ‘feral’ twenty times.
Feral is now his favourite word. ‘Is this animal feral? Is that animal feral?’ is what we hear all day. Quite funny!
The Fogg Dam was built in the mid 1950’s to provide irrigation for the Humpty Doo Rice Project. This scheme failed and the dam became a dry season refuge for wildlife, especially waterbirds such as Egrets, Jabiru and Magpie Geese.
There was quite a bit of bird life to see from the dam wall as it is getting to the end of the dry season and there isn’t a lot of water around.
In good years the floodplain can support about 100,000 dusky rats and 800 water pythons per square kilometre. This is probably the highest ‘biomass’ of any mammal in the world (so the sign said). So basically a lot of rats and snakes in one area……very appealing!!
Excitement once again was at fever pitch as we headed off to board the Adelaide River Crocodile Cruises with Captain Harry.
Captain Harry has being doing the crocodile cruises for over 30 years. He was a wealth of information about crocodile behaviour and the local area. He knew the crocodiles well and most had a name. There was the big fella BRUTUS, Michael Jackson, and a sweet female called Gracie.
Captain Harry enticed them off the banks out near the boat with some fresh buffalo meat. They didn’t need much enticement I must say. They knew him well obviously.
Everyone enjoyed scanning the banks in hope of spotting a crocodile....
Some crocodiles were young and extremely good jumpers....
Some were 'floaters'. These were crocodiles who were just passing through. Harry knew they were ‘floaters’ because he didn’t know them and they didn't approach the boat for food.
|We thought this 'floater' had beautiful markings...|
Frank spotted the ‘big fella’ BRUTUS from a few hundred metres away sunning himself on a muddy bank.
Brutus was keen for a bit of buffalo meat so he came out to greet us. He is 5.5 metres long and about 70-80 years old. The poor old fella has lost his front right leg somehow, maybe in a fight with another male?? Captain Harry wasn’t sure. It sure didn’t affect his ability to throw himself out of the water to grab some food.
|You can see in this photo where his leg 'used to be'....|
It was quite amazing as Captain Harry had the ability to calm Brutus with a loud ‘UH-UH’. Brutus also enjoyed a bit of scratch between the eyes with Harry’s feeding stick, he literally closed his eyes for a moment of joy. It was amazing to see the Crocodile Whisperer in action!!
This other big boy was 'Michael Jackson'. Captain Harry helped rescue him from being stuck in a fence nearby 20 years ago and this drama left his skin with large white scars.
You can see he is younger than Brutus as his teeth are in much better condition.
They are truly amazing creatures and it was fabulous to see them in the wild doing their own thing!
We also enjoyed the company of Charlie the Black Kite who followed us up and down the river. He was also after the occasional piece of buffalo meat as well. Captain Harry was very obliging...
We all thoroughly enjoyed this unforgettable experience...
Onwards we go to Kakadu National Park....