Yeah, the maps aren’t loading.
I think it’s left out of here tbh.
Headlights low and hopes still high, James swivels the stationwagons longdrawn backside round the top of the ramp and we roll toward an utter darkness.
No. This is the river.
We stop a moment, staring through the windscreen into the abyss. A glint of light bounces off the surface, ripples towards us.
Wait… Full beams. What is that?
I remember thinking about Australia’s fauna in the last days before our departure from England. I’d heard the stories as a boy and I was aware enough that I might interact with some of these creatures, but in truth, my mind was always preoccupied with the landscapes which they populated. Oldest rainforest in the world meets the great barrier reef? This had been the vision fuelling my anticipation of the east coast – all the way up to these last few seconds. Now, in the wet darkness just beyond the car, saltwater crocodiles lurk beneath the surface.. There it was again. Something poking through.. James offers an alternative.
Maybe the headlights are lighting up insects for the fish to see and eat, maybe that’s what we’re seeing break through.
‘Maybes’ are all you garner from the comfort of a passenger seat.. Certainty lies somewhere just beyond the front wheels… Once more, the ripple of light. My fingers grip the handle, legs swing out the door. I need a closer look.
Woaaaa… James. Stay in the car..
What is it?
Just stay in the car.. Shit.
My heart rates doubled in an instant. Every hairs stood on end, legs disappearing from underneath me. It’s not a saltwater crocodile but it petrifies me nonetheless.
Why? I’m a fool, with blind curiosity. Being aware these creatures exist in the wild and then actually being in their presence are two entirely separate things. Deadly animals in their natural habitat with no pane of glass to separate you from their grasp. We’re only 20 minutes into Daintree rainforest, I’ve never educated myself on the nature of dangerous Australian fauna, I couldnt guess the snakes intentions, their poisonous potency or their level of threat. There is no realm of knowledge that exists in the darkness between them and I. Only instinct. James instincts seem to be a little out of sync. As I back away slowly, flight mode engaged, he’s shot through the drivers door and is advancing rapidly on the larger snake, crouching down with arm outstretched, grabbing its neck, throwing it wide round his head like a lasso and swinging, encircling it round a distant tree branch and WAAAAAHOOOOOO disappearing into the blackness of the swamp. He doesn’t seem to share my reservations.
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Ps. The last part may well have been fabricated and the snakes may well have been indifferent in the end…but hey
All good stories deserve a little embellishment – Gandalf the Grey