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a crocodile and a woman

Posted by Richard Stith on June 20, 2014, 12:24 pm

Day before yesterday, Rosemarie and I had quite a set of crocodile experiences.

First, in the morning, we went to Boca de Iguanas where, as in prior years, we found a male crocodile guarding the egg nest the female had constructed. See first two photos, of the nest and the very alert dad.

Then on the way back home, to Casa Tortuga in La Manzanilla, we noticed that there was a crocodile near the opening of the lagoon, looking like he might head out to the beach & sea. [The barrier between the crocodiles and the tourists was destroyed by a storm last year & has not been repaired. Actually, it only existed for one season, I think.] See next two photos.

That evening, as the sun was starting to go down, we decided to go bathing in front of our apartment. I lasted about twenty minutes. Surprisingly, after only about another ten minutes, Rosemarie swam to shore and announced "I'm coming out." I asked, "Why/" She responded, "Because there was an alligator swimming next to me." I thought she was fantasizing about some log or other debris until I saw it rear up out of the water. Fully one third of the beast stood vertical above the sea, with its jaws opening and closing, in the light of the setting sun. Like some prehistoric sea monster. An unforgettable image. [I later realized, after discussion with locals, that it was simply trying to shake loose some trash that had gotten caught around its mouth. They also informed us that the crocodiles are confused once they reach the ocean and never have bitten anyone there.] Rosemarie went up to our apartment for the camera, but alas it reared up no more. She did get one photo of it swimming, however; see attached.

What struck me above all was that Rosemarie did not scream or panic when she discovered the great beast swimming alongside her, at only about 2 or 3 meters distance. She simply headed resolutely toward shore, Unfortunately, he seemed to be going the same way, despite her attempts to angle away from him, until finally he veered sharply left as she reached the near-shore breaking waves.

Here's how she recorded her experience shortly afterward:

It is late-ish in the afternoon. We are in La Manzanilla already a few days, and I have only once before gone swimming. Pie comes with me in the water, and we enjoy the occasional large waves. The water is cosy warm. Pie doesn't stay long, and I help him out over a bumpy bottom and braking waves.

I head back into the deep, do a little swimming, a little diving. It is so much fun until I realize -- a crocodile is swimming alongside me. I think, stay cool, outswim it. But there is no question that swimming alogside a crocodile is highly unnerving. I pick up my tempo and veer away from it, but always, like IT, towards the beach. I am really putting some muscle into this escape and lo and behold, leave it behind and stumble through the pebbly shallow finale onto the beach. While I scrambled through the painful pebble banks onto the beach, my co-swimmer turned to swim parallel to the beach, perhaps back towards its lagoon home.

I will have to say that the crocodile, aside from swimming alongside me, showed absolutely no sign of aggression.

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