So the first night of air-conditioned comfort did not quite go to plan. EVERYONE tells us that they only run their air-con for about half an hour at night, just before they go to bed, then they only run their fans over night and it is comfortable. So I put on the air-con for a while before going to bed and the van was deliciously cool when we went in there. We even used a sheet!! I fell asleep with a big smile on my face, only to wake up about two hours later nuclear hot. I searched around for the air-con remote control and again ran it for about half an hour before switching it off. Once again I woke up about two hours later boiling hot. This went on throughout the night and it was not a great night’s sleep. It was good to be able to switch it on and instantly cool down when you needed to, but the temperature of the van overnight would creep up to the usual unbearable temperatures. Why did we not run it all night long I hear you ask? This is a great question and one I put to Col the next morning. I don’t care what the cost, the air-conditioner is staying on all night long from now on. It will be interesting to ge the power bill to see how much it is, but seriously, who cares? Totally worth it.
We had an early start this morning to take the boat and meet Scottie and Richo on Stuart Highway and drive out to Cahill’s Crossing in Kakadu. Not long up the Arnhem Highway we saw smoke coming from the back of Richo’s trailer and then saw him pull off the road. Unfortunately he had blown a tyre and the three guys went into fix it mode to swap it over for the spare. Luckily Richo kept control of the car and trailer when the tyre blew and we were out of there in no time.
I had been told that there are more Crocs at Cahill’s Crossing than at Shady Camp, which I was finding hard to believe. As Shady Camp has the highest concentration of salt water crocs in Australia. But apparently you see way more at Cahill’s Crossing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because of this, but I took a teaspoon of cement and decided to try and enjoy the experience and hopefully not get eaten in the process.
To say there were a lot of Crocs in this place is a gross understatement. It was mind boggling to see them lined up along the bank. Usually salt water crocs are fiercely territorial and quite vicious towards each other, but these crocs were packed in tightly and we only saw a handful of fights throughout the day. Scottie was telling me that this is due to the part of their brain designed to fight and be territorial is actually switched off in these situations where they have to all live closely together. I have been trying to Google this to get more information but with no luck. It is strange that everywhere else you only see one Croc to a section of the river, but at Cahill’s they are everywhere!!
When we pulled up we went to the boat ramp to have a look and we could see Crocs on the opposite bank watching us and a snake swam across the river as well. Luckily Scottie and Richo kindly offered to back the boat in for us which meant I could get in the boat while on land and not have to scramble from the bank to the boat with all the other creatures in the water. The place itself is beautiful. I also find the crocs beautiful and amazing (provided they are not eating me or too close). So with heart pounding, we headed off down the river towards the crossing. I did check the bung plugs were in before we put the boat in, and also reminded Scottie and Richo to double check theirs too. You don’t want to be sticking your arm in the water to tighten them in this place, or notice your boat slowly going down!
As we headed toward the crossing, I was pointing out crocs as I saw them. One here, two there, three there, four, five, six, seven, ten….. ok I stopped couting. More than you could count. Definitely more than I have ever seen altogether. They say that for every croc you can see, there are 10 that you can’t. Doesn’t bear thinking about in that place. They see you long before you see them.
The water was moving really fast across Cahill’s Crossing which is where the Barra and Threadfin come to eat the Mullet and the Crocs come to eat whatever they can catch. It was hard to cast a lure here due to the number of crocs. You couldn’t help but hit a croc when you cast your line. It was crazy. There were also cars crossing the river to a community on the other side. Some of these cars were 2WD and definitely not built for these types of river crossings. There are some interesting videos on YouTube of cars getting into trouble at Cahill’s Crossing, with crocs waiting and watching for their opportunity to grab a meal. There were people lined up at the rail just watching all the action below. I was a little nervous that Scottie and Col were both standing up at the front of the boat and one decent bump from a croc could send them flying. Luckily this did not happen and we all survivied the day.
Richo had a trolling motor on his boat which meant he could stay in one place even though the water was moving really quickly. Col didn’t want to use an anchor or tie the boat to anything as this is risky in these sorts of waters with the tide moving so fast. So Col and I would go to the crossing and then drift back down the river while casting lures. Scottie and Richo were able to stay right near the crossing casting their lures. It really was amazing how quickly the water was flowing.
We saw an Indigenous lady catch a decent Barra using a hand real with live bait on it. The Crocs were very interested in this but the women managed to get the fish to shore. That was the only fish caught that day that we saw. It was 41C out in the boat on the water and very humid, but we coped ok with the heat. It would have been interesting to catch a fish as I really don’t think you would get it into the boat with that many crocs around! All in all we had a fantastic day out on the water and I am so glad I found my courage to go. I really loved it. You have to keep your wits about you in a place like that, but what an experience.
This video shows you the distance of the crocs from the boats and also how many were in the water just waiting for the fish to come over the crossing. Such an incredible experience.