Journal #40: Darwin
Cover Photo: “Beast Mode”
Dangerous Animals Spotted: 50+
As you can see from today’s picture, I swam (and survived!) the “Cage of Death” at the Crocodile Cove in Darwin today.
As some of you know, this has been a major bucket list item for me in Australia: the opportunity to swim with massive Crocodiles is something I felt was not only uniquely Australian but also just completely awesome.
The Crocodile in today’s picture is named “Chopper”- he is 18 feet long and weighs almost 1800 pounds. Poor Chopper is over 80 years old (!) and during his long life he has won and lost many territory disputes with other Crocs- you can see in the photo that he is actually missing both of his front claws (there’s just two stumps there). Since crocodiles are cold-blooded, they can slow down their heart rate to 1 beat per minute (reducing blood flow) and heal from just about any injury (we heard yesterday one extreme example of a crocodile having it’s entire small intestine ripped out and living for 5 more years after that)
The cage is super fun- it’s a bit expensive ($90 US for 20 minutes in the cage), but totally worth it. I was lowered down (randomly) into one of four Crocodile tanks, and then the handlers drop food in the water. The water is almost opaque- I could not see further than maybe 3-4 feet- so for the first minute underwater there’s an eerie stillness where I had no idea where the Croc would be coming from. Then all of a sudden this massive 18 foot Crocodile just sneaks up on the cage (it’s unreal how quiet these things are in the water) and just stares at me:
Chopper is pretty smart and was eager to eat the delicious meal that was floating in the cage (yours truly), so he would hover with his mouth open right where there were slits in the cage, just hoping I was dumb enough to put my fingers through. He also tried going over the cage multiple times:
Luckily he never succeeded in that endeavor- although if he had long enough to think about it he might of- as I learned yesterday in Litchfield, Crocodiles are capable of springing almost their entire body vertically out of the water. To give you an idea of how high he could reach, here’s a comparison of me standing up versus Chopper:
Tomorrow is my final day off before starting 6 straight days of full-day activities- my Airbnb (Isabelle) recommended I do the hop-on/hop-off tour in Darwin, so I might do that!
So long for now,