Ok so my joke about only needing to outrun Matthew and not the crocodile was an old joke and it had been used plenty of times before. It’s nearly as old as this joke.
Camper: What do I do if a crocodile comes out of the water near me?
Ranger: Step backwards slowly until you get to your car.
Camper: What if the crocodile follows me?
Ranger: Step back slowly until you stop at the car, reach down and pick up a steaming wad of shit and throw it at the crocodile.
Camper: How do I know there will be a wad of shit there?
Ranger: Trust me, there will be!
Old they may be but it’s that kind of outrageously funny humour that keeps things from getting too old and I’m sure you agree because if there is one thing you have learnt from reading these stories about me it is that I am always right! Even when other people don’t fully appreciate my wonderful sense of humour.
Ok that’s enough self flagellation, (hey a girl has to get it somewhere!), I’ll get back to the story that was at hand before I went off on my little tangent. Call those last few paragraphs filler if you like!
So after my bad joke about running…hey that reminds me of…only kidding.
Matthew knew I wasn’t serious about the crocodile just like he knew I was serious when I told him before we arrived that if he didn’t want to help he was welcome to stay in the Beast, but that seriousness didn’t stop either him or Nick having laugh before we got to work.
The truth of the situation was that neither myself or Nick, and I suppose Matthew because he agreed, thought the situation was overly dangerous. It needed caution obviously, it needed us to remain alert but even with the crocodile still hiding in the bushes we still had a good buffer zone between it and our work area.
I guess your probably thinking something along the lines of “can’t crocodiles run?” Well I guess that’s a fair thought and yes they can run and they can run at speeds up to about thirty kilometres per hour apparently but I can run faster than Matthew. I’m kidding, what I meant to say was that in most cases up where we were the crocodile would stalk us, try to sneak up on us and only pounce at the last minute. It’s not unheard of that they run out of hiding at their target but with three people it was more unlikely especially given that the crocodile doesn’t know how dangerous a person is only that there is multiple threats they need to attack.
So we had our jobs and we knew what they were, I used the radio to tell the Beau what we were doing since Nick didn’t have his hand held with him and Beau agreed that he and his family would keep a look out for any movement from the croc.
We didn’t do a count of three or anything like that Matthew and I just climbed out of the Beast, Nick off his bullbar perch and we set about the jobs at hand. Nick and Matthew got straight down to packing up the camping gear, folding the chairs, folding the table, putting the smaller incidental type objects into whatever they could so they could carry multiple items at once and generally just cleaning up everything they could. At the same time I set about getting that roof tent down and folded.
Although Beau and the family were keeping and eye out for any movement it was hard for us not to do the same things as we worked. For the boys they barely tuned their back on the bush and when they did it was for the quickest time, for me it was like working with one eye on the job and one on the target, it slowed me down a little bit but the higher adrenalin levels pushed me along.
At a glance it didn’t appear like there was too much on the ground but what was there was quiet fiddly for the boys. For instance the camp chairs all had a safety locking feature which required two separate hand movements to make work and the table needed two people to fold opposite sides at the same time. It would probably have been easier for them to just place everything on the tray unfolded but it did take up more room that way.
When it came to the final stages of flipping the roof tent over onto the roof of the Landcruiser Matthew left Nick boxing up the final remnants of the camp site and came over to help me. Up until that time all three of us had been more focused on the job at hand than talking, which probably wasn’t a bad thing given that silence is easier to interrupt with “look out there is a big croc coming” than noise is. We’d been so focused that I think the first words I heard was Matthew asking me if I wanted a hand getting the tent down to its resting spot. I guess it was more of a statement than a request since he didn’t wait for a reply.
“You’re set Beau, take it slow and wait for us down at the third bend where the track opens up.” I called out only a minute or so after Matthew came to help.
Beau took off a little faster than my ‘slow’ indicated but who could blame him I’m sure both him and his family were on the edges of their seats. As the Landcruiser disappeared down the track Nick picked up the last item, a bag of rubbish, and hefted it onto the tray of the Beast.
“You ready to get out of here?” I asked him.
Previous Outback Rescue Story here.