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Old 25-11-2014, 05:56   #1
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Crocodiles in the Kimberley

Hi all.

We are planning to cruise the Kimberley coast next season. Have heard some stories of very cheeky crocs and attacks on dinghies. Just trying to separate fact from hysteria.

We have a 3.1m RHIB dinghy with a 6hp outboard and have had comments like "You won't be able to take that to the Kimberley or the crocs will bite it and sink you," or "Whatever you do don't leave your dinghy in the water or the crocs will attack it."

I am born and bred in croc country in north Queensland and have fished mangrove creeks in croc habitat all my life. I am well aware of the dangers of crocs and the precautions required. My experience has always been though that they tend to shy away from people and boats. Actual attacks on boats or people in boats I always thought were very, very rare and were usually associated with someone going for a Darwin Award by doing something stupid like hanging limbs over the side or cleaning fish over the side.

I do know that these beasties can get very used to people being around especially if they get given an occasional feed of fish scraps etc. so they can lurk around boats which means you most definitely need to take care and keep your wits about you.

But I have also seen how some people either seem to get totally paranoid about them and exaggerate the danger or just the opposite and be so blasé that they are really putting their lives in danger. Like the guy in prime croc country that told me that it was ok to swim upstream of a particular bridge as the crocs didn't go upstream of the bridge. He was seriously going to get into the water for a dip.

So, any cruisers out there that have cruised the Kimberley and experienced the crocs first hand? What say ye? Is my dinghy destined for croc food? Is is too small? Do i need an aluminium dinghy just to stay alive? Were you always winching out your dinghy when not in use? Did any crocs have a nibble of your dinghy or outboard?

Thanks in advance.

Winf
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Old 25-11-2014, 13:00   #2
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

Winf,

I bet you're gonna hear some fanciful stories. The only inflatables I know of that have had natural bites are ours, cookie cutter sharks, twice, a turtle who was trapping small fish against it put a hole in it once, too and a friends, another shark, disinflated one tube, but they made it back to the boat okay.

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Old 25-11-2014, 13:29   #3
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

I'm guessing that "Salties" are a good reason to have a dink that will plane, to steal from another thread
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Old 25-11-2014, 13:45   #4
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

You do hear some stories... I've even heard of a croc attacking a wind generator...


But I do think there has been a genuine case of a croc biting an inflatable. Think I read it in that magazine an insurance company puts out - an unusual insurance claim....


Having said that, we do plan on cruising the Kimberly, and most likely with our current RIB dinghy. I won't be leaving it in the water overnight, but I rarely do anyway.


And having dinghied around the Daintree river and other croc infested area, I do like having a motor that gets us up on plane quickly.
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:11   #5
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Winf,

The only inflatables I know of that have had natural bites are ours and a friends, another shark
Ann
Ours got bitten/punctured by an ostrich, does that count?

As for the fanciful element, this occurred on the tiny and virtually uninhabited Greek island of Dokos (near Hydra) How did an ostrich get there to begin with?
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Old 25-11-2014, 14:44   #6
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

I have been cruising the Kimberly regularly now for the last 25 years.
Inflatable dinghies are referred to as crocodile teething rings in this part of the world. I have a large hard dingy/ exploration boat with inflatable fenders on one side for protection when rafted up. I've replaced these numerous times after maulings. My anchor bouy has been another target.

Soft dinghies are great in marinas. Not so good around rocks, oysters and crocks. The only timid crocks are the ones that get shot at.
That being said , many cruise the Kimberly with inflatables , stick to the "ant trail " and don't have a problem.
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Old 26-11-2014, 04:53   #7
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

Thanks for the responses so far. Was hoping to hear from a few more with actual Kimberley cruising.

I read about the wind generator eating croc too and wondered what they were smoking.

Until we can get a feel for the risk, will probably play it safe and lift the dinghy out each night. Though not having davits, it is a bit of a PITA.

Should I take a gun?

A joke, a joke! Really, just a joke.

Winf
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Old 26-11-2014, 15:26   #8
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

I went through a few years back, ended in company with two other yachts. We left inflatable in most of time with no issues. I have a cat in our marina who recently went through and their inflatable was 'played with' by a croc and it was a throw away after the incident. I am heading through again next year but will lift onto foredeck, not a big inflatable!
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Old 26-11-2014, 16:01   #9
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

If you Google on "Crocodiles in Australia", you will soon find a Northern Territory government site that will let you read perhaps a tad more than you wanted to know about crocodiles.

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Old 26-11-2014, 16:22   #10
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

I've heard that crocs use RIBs as boarding ladders and then eat the crew as they sleep.....
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Old 26-11-2014, 16:41   #11
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

Winf-aMen
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Old 26-11-2014, 17:01   #12
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

There are enough reports out there about salty interaction with small boats that makes it a real concern.

15 years ago the local fishermen protested tour boats encouraging aggressive crock behavior by dangling chickens over the stern.
No update but there are a lot of tour boats working that area.
I would try and talk to those guys and see if any use ribs?

http://kimberleycruises.com/tours/list-of-boats/
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Old 27-11-2014, 02:56   #13
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

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I would try and talk to those guys and see if any use ribs?

List of Boats | Kimberley Cruise Center
Most use large ally runabouts that get towed between destinations. The large cruise ship "Orion" uses large black inflatables , that tear about showing no respect for other cruisers. Not sure but I've never seen one of these unattended whilst in the water.

Most of my dingy encounters have been during the day , with the dingy tied off ashore. On return one finds the dingy capsized or in disarray with teeth punctures in the fenders or motor cover.
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Old 27-11-2014, 03:05   #14
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

Best to stay south of Brisbane.... no crocs down there.... the Great Whites ate them all........
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Old 27-11-2014, 03:06   #15
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Re: Crocodiles in the Kimberley

Christ!!!! you guys are a hardy lot
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