Croc shock!…Stunning Crocodile River sightings from Ngwenya…

One mean looking croc!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Last night’s sunset from Ngwenya Restaurant’s veranda overlooking the river.

At times, I almost don’t know where to begin to tell you about our past 24 hours, which is exactly what we share on most days. Sure, we may describe sightings and events that may have transpired on other days, but overall, our goal is to divulge the most recent.

Elephants were making their way toward the sparse water in the Crocodile River.

So, today, as I share the events of yesterday, I can’t help but smile over how Mother Nature (i.e., safari luck) continues to come our way wherever we may be in this utopia of wildlife, scenery, and nature.

What a breathtaking scene as they crossed the dry riverbed!

For example, last night’s photo of the sunset at Ngwenya was genuinely breathtaking. So quickly, it vanishes into the horizon for darkness to fall and a single sentence spoken to each other or our friends, and we’ve missed the entire event.

Moms, the matriarch, and several youngsters, including a tiny baby, made their way to the water.

It also was the case when yesterday, we decided to leave the house for Ngwenya at 1630 hours (4:30 pm) instead of our usual almost 5:00 pm. Had we lingered for 30 minutes, we have missed most of today’s photos. I suppose it’s all about timing and sheer coincidence.  

They kicked up a lot of dust as they made their way over the dry riverbed.

It’s certainly has nothing to do with any skill or innate perception on our part, except for the fact that we’re aware that sightings are better at certain times of day than others.

This baby couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old.

With only six days until Tom and Lois depart to return to the US and only three months and 25 days until we leave South Africa for Kenya (if a visa extension is provided), I’ve begun to feel a sense of loss over our eventual departure.  

When we leave on February 20th, should all go as hoped, we’ll be returning to South Africa on December 2, 2020, a mere one year, nine months, and 12 days, arriving in Capetown by cruise where we’ll spend a few days and then head directly back to Marloth Park.

The mature elephants indeed protect the little ones.

But, so much can change between now and then. The park could be different with less wildlife, and changes could transpire that we can’t even conceive of at this point.  

Life is unpredictable. So much is beyond our control. Merely fantasizing about how we’d like it to be and what it subsequently “will be” can be but a figment of our imagination. The world is rapidly changing. We are all evolving as we age, and no one can predict a few years from now.

Finally, they approached an area with easier access to the river.

In our “perfect world,” we’d still be traveling as we are. We’ll have been to many more places, seen many more wonders, and perhaps even finding ourselves loving other sites as much as we’ve loved it here.

We shall see. Neither of us is caught up in any dreadful type of expectations. We roll with it as we go and strive to do our best to make our ongoing dreams come to fruition. There will never be a time that we’ll stop dreaming.

From quite a distance, we spotted a female lion.

Today, we had another exceptional experience when the four of us took quite a drive to see an authentic African village, outstanding musical production, and learns about the culture. We’ll be sharing that story and photos tomorrow.

Please check back.  We have so much more.

Have a pleasant and peaceful evening.

Photo from one year ago today, October 26, 2017:

In Kauai, Hawaii, our dear friend Louise wrote to tell us this bird we spotted in the yard in Costa Rica was a Fiery-billed Aracari. What am a fantastic bird!  For more photos, please click here.

Deadman’s Gully…Aptly named?…A visit to check it out…

In checking out the photo below of the woman who encountered the crocs it appears to have been in this area we visited at Deadman’s Gully.

A month from today we’ll be waking up in a hotel in Sydney to catch a very early flight to Fiji. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time in Trinity Beach has passed. Last night, Tom mentioned how 90 days is the perfect amount of time to spend living in any one area and I wholeheartedly agree.

We could easily envision a croc coming up and over this hill from the ocean to Deadman’s Gully.

As time winds down, we begin to think of places we’d like to visit or perhaps revisit during our last month in the Cairns area. With a few spots in mind, yesterday we decided to return to Clifton Beach, an area we’d only driven by on a rainy day shortly after we arrived two months ago.

There are several signs noting Deadman’s Gully.

As always, before heading out we began reviewing online information about Deadman’s Gully. Curious as to the origin of its name, we stumbled across this story in the Cairns Post and on the news a year ago:

“Cairns teacher almost snapped by 3m crocodile at Deadman’s Gully near Cairns

A woman who came within 1 cm of a crocodile’s jaws after the reptile lunged at her and her dog at a Northern Beaches creek has called for the immediate removal of the dangerous creature.

Clifton Beach resident Belinda Marsh, 50, was walking her German shepherd Nharla at Deadman’s Gully on Sunday night.  Two saltwater crocodiles have been spotted several times by locals in the waterway in recent weeks, the last sighting reported on Thursday.”

We followed this path in the Deadman’s Gully.

For the remainder of this news story, please click here.

Well, of course, reading this story made us all the more interested in checking out Deadman’s Gully hoping to take photos of where these two crocs were sighted and to investigate the type of habitat that appeals to them. We didn’t expect that we’d see any crocs, nor did we want to be in a position of having to run from them. 

The area adjoining Deadman’s Gully.

But, I did mention to Tom that maybe “safari luck” would kick in and we’d see a croc in the wild enabling us to take a photo from the safety of the car. No such luck.

Adding to our peace of mind, before we headed out the door, we noticed one additional story online:

“Elusive 3m croc caught at Deadman’s Gully in Cairns

By Sharnie Kim

“Government contractors have captured a crocodile that is believed to have lunged at a Cairns resident and her pet dog. The three-meter reptile, at Deadman’s Gully on the city’s northern beaches, has eluded capture since about November last year when residents reported several sightings. Its mate was captured that month. Aboriginal contractors harpooned the larger crocodile late on Tuesday night and authorities are finding it a new home. Meanwhile, the state Environment Department said it was investigating after a one-meter crocodile was found dead at Deep Creek on Cairns’ northern beaches earlier this week.”
There was barely a cloud in the sky.
The fact that these particular crocs had been captured didn’t necessarily mean that no other crocs would be in this area. With a plan to proceed with caution as do many bikers and joggers who fancy this particular area, clearly marked with numerous warning signs, we ventured out with enthusiasm.
Again, another relatively unoccupied beach on a perfectly sunny day around noon.
Once in a while, we miss an opportunity to capture a video. Such was the case as we exited the car when we parked in one of the few available parking spots in the area. A noisy flock of birds stopped us in our tracks as we were shocked by the loud sounds coming from the trees overhead. Unfortunately, by the time the camera loaded the sounds stopped, most likely due to our arrival.
Pretty view at Clifton Beach where Deadman’s Gully is located.
We were reminded of the sounds of the Howler Monkeys when we visited a rainforest in Belize, many moons ago. Bringing up this memory we both giggled over how I’ve combated so many fears over these past three years.
The Clifton Beach neighborhood and esplanade is lined with lovely homes.
Now, I’ll wander through a rainforest without hesitation as long as I’m lathered up with repellent. In Belize, I was a wreck, trying to be brave and failing poorly. It seems so long ago, that any insect sent me reeling which now I flick away with only a tinge of annoyance.
Some type of fungus growing on the side of this tree.
When an insect is large and/or interesting I’ll often manage a quick jump to grab the camera as is evidenced in our stream of photos of insects, snakes, and other creatures. Although, I must admit we both remain hesitant when spotting venomous centipedes, spiders, and snakes.
Unusual tree trunk at Clifton Beach
As for crocs, fear is a good thing. One must stay on alert. Fear in itself should be used as a trigger for extreme caution. Those crazy folks who put their heads into the mouths of crocs make no sense at all.
The vegetation is dense along the beach in certain areas along Deadman’s Gully.
There’s no doubt that as we neared the gully and river that our eyes carefully scanned the area as we listened for sounds of movement in the dense and often tall vegetation.
It was these murky waters that appeared to be a possible haven for crocs.
With no obvious croc in the area, we took our photos while fascinated with the scenery before us.  We walked the paved path and perused the narrow unpaved pathways over rocks, tree roots, and fallen vegetation often keeping one eye on the ground with the other on our surroundings.
There are narrow walkways to the ocean as shown in the openings in the railing.
We hope you’ll enjoy our photos over the next few days as we continue to share the sights in the area of Deadman’s Gully. By the way, we never found how the name of this area originated but, it’s easy to imagine.
With many German tourists visiting Australia the German word “actung” is often listed on warning signs at the beach. There also appears to be a warning in Chinese and/or Japanese.
                                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2014:
The famous Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. It was hard to believe we were actually there seeing first hand that which we’d only seen in movies and photos. Still soaked from standing in the gardens for 90 minutes in the pelting rain without an umbrella, we hardly noticed our clothes as we wandered through the amazing property. For more photos and details, please click here.