Friday, June 29, 2012

Here There Be Crocodiles

Here Be Dragons was a phrase used by cartographers to denote dangerous waters or uncharted territory.

Warning: Crocodiles may be present in these waters.

Would you go swimming after reading that sign? We did. :-)

Luckily, the only crocodiles we spotted on our recent trip to Cairns were at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, a farm/zoo that offers tourists a close up look at Australia's saltwater and freshwater crocodiles.

These "salties" and "freshies" can grow to massive proportions. A crocodile shot in the area in the 1950s was reported to be 23 feet long!
This croc looks like he just gulped down a human...or two.
In addition to the crocodiles, Hartley's also boasted an array of other native Australian animals in their zoo. We saw cassowaries, kangaroos, goanas, koalas, and quolls to name a few.
This photo answers the age old question, 'What does a wallaby do with its tail when it sits down?'

After a couple hours of walking around the zoo, we decided it was time for lunch. Drew chose the Dinosaur Burger—grilled crocodile—with a side of chips (fries!).

For a palate cleanser, we sampled some ants that happened to be marching nearby. These Green Tree Ants had a refreshing citrus flavor. Drew has become quite the ant connoisseur here - his research area has ants that taste like coconut!
Heather & Ian - this one's for you!

Lest you think that all the crocodiles were at Hartley's...
On our trip to Cairns, we also went whitewater rafting on the Tully River. It was gorgeous—a day full of Class IV rapids in the middle of the rainforest. Waterfalls cascaded into the river all around us and Ulysses Butterflies flitted around our helmets and paddles. As we got closer to the take-out and the water became calmer between rapids, our guide warned us, "If you fall out during a rapid, get back in the boat as quickly as you can before we come to another flat water pool."
Apparently, the crocs don't like rapids but they do hang out in the flat water areas.  You can bet that I was hanging on to the raft for dear life after that warning.
Neither of these are photos of us, sadly. Pics are from the Raging Thunder website, the outfitter we rafted with

As if the crocs weren't dangerous enough, box jellyfish also visit the Australian coastline. These jellyfish are one of the most venomous animals in the world. The public beaches often have nets in place offshore to keep the stingers from washing into the swimming area. Children wear 'stinger suits' (swim shirts) and beaches will usually have a bucket of vinegar to pour on unlucky victims. The vinegar helps to neutralize the venom but it still leaves a wicked scar. Ouch!
I hope we're not scaring you too much, though. The beaches felt very safe and people were frolicking in the water everywhere we went. Really, the only thing we worried about was staying warm in the cold water.  But more on that in the next post.

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  1. So what did Drew think about the crocodile burger? Seems like it would be...tough. I have been stung by the jelly fish here at VA Beach and it's no joke! I love reading about your adventures.

  2. Seriously- you think I am going to come and visit after this post? Ahhh!!!! Did Drew like his burger?

  3. What an adventure! How was the crocodile burger? We had "alligator cheesecake" (a quiche made with alligator sausage) in New Orleans and it wasn't bad. And I can't believe you're eating ants--you've gone native! ;)

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