“So what do you want me to do?” I asked Nick from the comfort of the driver’s seat in the Beast. “Did you want me to film you wrestling the crocodile so we could add it your Tinder profile and show how manly you are?”
“I see you took your funny pills this morning.” Nick replied. He then leaned forward slightly and looked past me. “How do you put up with her?” he asked Matthew.
Matthew shrugged and smiled.
“He’s too scared to talk because I told him before we arrived that I was going to use him as bait so that we could take your action photos.”
“You truly should be voted for sister of the year, no, stuff that, person of the year. I’m going to ring Time magazine when we get home. Your face is going to be on the front of a magazine no one in the real world cares about!” Nick said.
“Well it’s not before time, I can tell you!” I replied.
“We all aspire to different things!” Nick replied. “Right now I aspire to getting out of here, or more to the point, getting the Franklin’s out of here safely and without any crocodile teeth marks in anything.”
As I think I previously mentioned the camp site the Franklin’s, I now had a name for them, had been occupying for the past few days was barely packed up. When they saw the crocodile they were quick to take safe haven in their vehicle, which was a smart move, and packing up the rest of their gear had not been a priority.
The family didn’t need rescuing from a bog or a breakdown so Nick’s original intention had been to come up and help the family pack up their gear and get them back on their way safely. Although we didn’t often shoot crocodiles up in the north Nick was capable of doing so but his first thought was that because the crocodile hadn’t attacked when it had first seen the family it was going to be long gone. He would of course be armed and ready but his presence was more about protection and help rather than anything else.
“So what is your plan? What do you need us for? I don’t think Matthew really wants to be crocodile bait.”
Nick ignored my silliness and answered my first question instead. “Well the Franklin’s are rightfully scared shitless. Beau wanted to help but since we found the croc a second time I think he’s less keen to be out here so it might be up to us.”
“Have you seen it since you last radio call?” I asked.
“No, but I also haven’t seen the bushes rustle so I’m assuming he’s still there.”
“You think he’s hungry?”
“Doesn’t appear to be. There was food out the first time and he didn’t go for it. Kind of appears like he was just having a look around.”
Crocodiles are inquisitive creatures when they sense noise or activity in their area, even more so when they are in a new area or one they don’t reside near regularly. Given that the Franklin’s hadn’t seen the crocodile in two days of camping it was definitely leaning towards the big fella just being a in a new area and being a bit of a sticky beak.
Nick referring to the crocodile as male was partly a guess but it was also an educated guess given that a female protecting it’s young would be more aggressive and generally females had a slimmer body related to their size than males.
Because we don’t shoot crocs on sight, even if they are menacing a community and scaring the locals we tend to have them captured and moved, not killed, our intentions were never going to be to harm the crocodile. We would of course protect ourselves if the croc attacked and shooting to kill in such a situation could happen, but it was a last resort.
What that meant for us, and I was fairly certain this would be Nick’s plan of attack, was going to be to get the Franklin’s gear packed up and into their vehicle, if they were able to help great, but if not we’d do it, while we kept an eye out for any movement from the bushes. The first sign of movement and we were back to the safety of the vehicles, if movement didn’t happen we’d get the job done and get out of there quickly and safely.
Sounds like a fair plan, doesn’t it? Apparently Nick thought so by confirming that my thoughts about his thoughts were in fact the thoughts he was thinking.
We went through the steps of our plans, it only took us another few minutes and in that time the crocodile didn’t poke his head out to say hello, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was giving us a false sense of security.
“Do you have any idea how all that stuff went into the Troopy?” I asked Nick referring to the remaining pieces of the Franklin’s camp that needed to be put back in the vehicle.
“Not exactly but Beau has assured me there is heaps of room and we should be able to almost throw the stuff in. It’s the roof tent he was really worried about, he reckons it takes ten minutes to put away and he can’t drive away with it down.”
I’d seen and used such roof tents before and while they were relatively easy to pack up they did, as Beau suggested, take a bit of time, I thought I could save a few minutes off his ten but it was definitely a job that was going to take more than five minutes.
“What if you and Matthew get the gear together and throw it on the back of the Beast and I’ll do that roof tent?” I asked as I looked at the gear laying around the camp site. “I reckon I can get that thing folded and on the roof in the time it takes you two to pack up the gear. I wont get it tied down but it will be enough to get them mobile and if the go slow enough it wont be damaged. We’ll get them to stop down there,” I pointed to the track Matthew and I came in on. “and we’ll secure everything.”
“Who’s going to keep a watch for the croc?” Nick asked.
“We’ll get them to watch.” I said referring to the Franklin’s
“I hope you can run faster than a crocodile!” Matthew said from the passenger seat.
“I don’t have to run faster than him, I only have to run faster than you!” I replied.
Previous Outback rescue story here.