Apex predator joins leisurely paddle

Ginie Udy, Crows Nest Centre Board Member

My husband and I have always liked semi sporting activities that we can enjoy together, like walking, biking (e-bikes preferred now in retirement), body surfing, snorkelling and kayaking.

We also love travelling and since the late 1990s, we usually spend a month or more overseas each year, alternating between the US and somewhere European or more exotic in some way. Making discoveries and interacting with the locals is part of what we most enjoy.

I haven’t kayaked a lot, however exploring watery scenery and just paddling along is very relaxing, especially with a partner. Except of course when you are joined by some unusual creatures. Like that time in Florida.

This encounter occurred during our 2016 month-long trek around Florida. The whole of Florida is reclaimed swamp, with crocodiles and alligators swarming through the waterways, even congregating on roadsides at times.

Almost gave up my paddle when I had to do battle with a croc in the Everglades of Florida.

So they are basically regarded as common, if slightly dangerous co-inhabitants of the countryside. I think the locals (both human and animal) have learnt to co-exist pretty happily.

That said, when we did this day long kayaking adventure into the Everglades area in southern Florida, we weren’t really prepared to get as up close and personal as I ended up getting.

I could have freaked out, but the fact that our guide seemed familiar with this sort of rendezvous influenced me to remain pretty calm. And the croc appeared curious rather than menacing.

And being suitably, and perhaps cautiously respectful of the locals is always a good way to go when in unfamiliar territory, I’ve learnt!

My husband and retired to Manly four years ago to enjoy more of what we love: travel and the water. I have so many happy memories of both.

Kayaking over ancient ruins in Turkey in 2007.
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