Fisherman's croc terror: “He was swimming quite fast"
A KEEN local recreational fisherman has told how a large crocodile chased him out of the water at Little Cove, which is just inside the mouth of Dickson Inlet, Port Douglas.
Luke Webb, who has lived in Port Douglas for 20 years, said the removal of a crocodile from Dickson Inlet by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection the previous day had reassured him about taking a dip at the little beach at the tip of Rex Smeal Park.
"I was out about chest high when I saw a large croc swim around the corner from the Inlet, in the boat channel," Mr Webb said.
"He was swimming quite fast and when he saw me he turned and swam straight towards me.
"I made my way to the beach quickly but without splashing around because I didn't want him to charge.
"I ran up the bank and onto the grass and watched.
"He stopped and then moved a little further out and stayed beside some rocks.
"Every few minutes he'd come back up and take another look. Eventually he swam off to the south, toward Four Mile Beach.
"I rang EHP later and they put it down to mating season behavior. They said he was probably seeing me as a threat in his domain."
It was the second time in three days that Mr Webb had reported threatening crocodile behavior to EHP.
On the earlier occasion, he was fishing at the public pontoon on the inlet when a 2.5 metre croc appeared less than five metres away.
"It was swimming past and I clearly saw its eye turn and fix on me," said Mr Webb.
"I could see the pupil of its eye change. It stared at me. The hair on my neck stood up and I decided to call the EHP."
Rangers came and interviewed him, and placed a trap in the Inlet near the pontoon.
The next day they caught a 2.5 metre crocodile and took it away.
The trap remained in the inlet and eventually became a media sensation when several men were photographed messing around with it.
The Gazette understands it had already become a social media favourite as tourists made a point of taking selfies from the pontoon with the trap in the background.
In fact it has been suggested that this unwanted attention may have inspired the interference with the trap in an effort to move it away.
Mr Webb said he was speaking out about his experience with crocodiles out of concern for the local tourism industry.
He stressed that concrete steps leading down to the inlet near the public pontoon were tempting children to descend to water level. He had seen this happen.
He also believes there needs to be more croc warning signs along the inlet, not least Little Cove where he had an experience he won't forget in a hurry.
A boatie living on the Inlet said he has a small dinghy and is fearful of moving to or from his boat at night.
He said crocs frequently menaced people in dinghies and tinnies. "One bloke said a croc raised itself up and took a good look at him."