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Cruising sailors, don't swim in SOME tropical waters

by Lee Mylchreest on 26 Feb 2014
Croc swimming - photo by Sharon Scoble SW
As a sailor one of the delights of going cruising, particularly in tropical waters, is the ability to jump off the boat when you anchor for that refreshing swim beside the boat. However, visiting sailors to Australia's north west won't be jumping off the boat any time soon after an incident at Cable Beach near West Australia's remote Broome.

That was when a giant four-metre salt-water crocodile decided to join the surfers at the iconic beach, and very quickly had the surf to himself. The watching crowd increased, but there were no more swimmers in the water that day.



The crocodile hung around for most of Saturday but had moved on by Sunday.

Salt water crocodiles are famous for their 'death roll' method of killing a large prey like a human. When a crocodile grabs very large prey in its strong jaws, it then drags it into the water to drown it. The crocodile will use its advantage in the water and its own body weight to roll over and over again to drown its prey.

It will pause and if the animal moves again the death roll will once again be applied by the crocodile.

Broome photographer and council employee Sharon Scoble, who captured these amazing images, said: 'He was a big boy — his head was huge. It was absolutely awesome.

'But it wouldn’t have been so awesome if I was swimming and noticed it. Rangers were there so they were making sure no one was going anywhere near it.

As to where it went when it left the surfing beach, Ms Scoble had some ideas. 'It would have just gone back up one of the creeks I think.'

Local Parks and Wildlife officer Dave Woods said it is believed to be the same crocodile which had been spotted close to Broome in December. He said it was believed to be 3.5m to 4m long.

The surfing crocodile will not be frequenting the beach much in the future though. Mr Woods said the animal would be targeted for removal to the Malcolm Douglas Wilderness Park, near Broome.

Cruising sailors visiting the northern climes of Australia are advised not to swim off the boat in any coastal waters of the indicated locations in the image. The situation on islands can be different - check locally before you swim.

Letter from reader on the existence of crocodiles on Australian islands:

Sender: Guy Sigston

Message: re the comment 'The situation on islands can be different'. Sailing up the east coast of Aus in Oct 2010 stopped at Morris Islet and despite the guide books assurance that here are no crocs on Morris Islet had a close call with a huge croc.
took the kids to the islet, splashed about in the shallows for half an hour before returning to yacht. looked back and in exact location was croc with mouth open.
Big shock. Please do not suggest to readers that islands can be ok

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