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Entering Crocodile Territory in Cairns
Wednesday 23rd March 2011 – Cairns, Australia
It hadn’t really dawned on me yet that I was actually in one of the warmest places in Australia, home to the crocodile. Up until now all the talk has been about sharks, spiders or snakes, and you forget after a while that Australia is home to some of the most dangerous animals, or at least until you get a sudden reminder.
I awoke after a difficult night sleep in the intense heat, and welcomed the start of the day. My room mates were preparing themselves for a Cairns skydive, working themselves into a mild frenzy, and I did my best to reassure where I could. It has been years since my skydive in Taupo, New Zealand, and I was a little jealous of the pair. I was looking forward to their reaction later, but for now, for me, I had to go on a job hunt.
One particular hostel position that I pre-arranged suddenly became unavailable as I found out this morning. The girl was apologetic, but it didn’t help me at all as I was pinning my hopes on the position. I checked with another possible hostel position, but no luck there. I also walked about town asking various places, but nothing was available at the moment. Finally, the last hostel I checked said there might be the possibility of work in a week if I wanted it. I accepted, and had to find a way to make the money I have left stretch, and with the first week in the hostel job being a trial basis, I wouldn’t be guaranteed the position at the end. The situation was far from ideal, but at least I had something.
With the morning well and truly spent, I opted to take myself to the Botanical Gardens for a walk about. The gardens are smaller compared to those I have seen up the East Coast of Australia, but it was a nice afternoon spent. I read the notice board in the gardens and had to look twice at a certain warning message posted about the recent sighting of a crocodile in the gardens. The message made me realise that I am actually in the crocodile’s back yard, and that any sighting – although improbable – was still possible, and this made me all the more vigilant. The amount of people walking their dogs or jogging through the gardens dispelled any real fear, but it was an eye opener.
I saw a small turtle sunning himself on a small tree stump in the centre of the lake in the gardens and sat to admire my surroundings. The chair I was sitting on formed part of an ant highway, with workers strutting back and forth, carrying goods back to the nest. They were green ants, the kind you see everywhere, and I remembered hearing stories about being able to eat the ants, and so I briefly flirted with the idea of trying one for myself, but was ultimately too afraid to go through with it.
Along the waterways in the gardens there are many signs detailing the danger of crocodiles, and how nobody should approach the water at all. I couldn’t help but hope I could catch a glimpse of one at some point, provided I was a fair distance away. A passer by explained they had seen one on a couple of occasions, but that there was no danger of really seeing one today.
The evening was spent at the Woolshed again with the other hostel guests and had a good night. I was pleased to see my room mates really enjoyed their skydive. It was another warm night and I felt as though air conditioning would be a good idea tonight.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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