A Crocodile Day

It was a Saturday that we, my husband and I, had scheduled to go to the beach and stop at the local farmer’s market for a few things, but I wasn’t feeling up to it so I sent him off with his dog Otis for some ‘guy time’.  The rains had finally decided to visit us this past week, long overdue, and the rivers have been running pretty high, but the tides and the surf have been a bit bigger and rougher than ‘normal’ this past month and when he arrived at our usual beach stop, he was somewhat shocked at what he saw.  Usually there is a dirt road into a tropical beach camp with several parking spots under the trees, some awesome natural camping spots – here the locals will collect driftwood to build their fires and enjoy family gatherings at the beach.  Today the picture was a new one: it’s all underwater!  At this particular spot there is a creek that runs quite close to the parking area from the high ground down to the ocean, and apparently the surf had been so high that it piled HUGE sandbars up and blocked the flow of the creek and the entire beach camping area was under water with a huge sandbar in between it and the beach. At this particular time today the surf was just coming up from low tide.  This beach is really long, goes for probably a mile or more into what is known as the ‘whale’s tail’, with beach access only at a couple of key spots,  Jungle that goes right down to the edge of the beach, very idyllic, scenic and most of the time, quiet.

Not another soul was around, so Ricardo and Otis took their liberties on the beach to enjoy their peace and solitude, despite the rearrangement of things.  The water was pretty stirred up and the sand under the waves had been just as rearranged with some pretty deep holes, so he might be walking along and then oops – up to the neck in deep water!  Ricardo found a sand bar to wade on while Otis was having a blast running up and down the beach and swimming out to Ricardo and back again.  The water was a bit rough and murky for any serious swimming, and oddly Ricardo had an unsettled feeling there…like something big, a bull shark perhaps, was in the water…hmmmmmmm.  He felt the water was definitely ‘sharky’.  We always respect those gut feelings, one never knows what could be in the vicinity.  However, they continued to enjoy the therapy of the water while paying attention, and all of a sudden Ricardo glimpsed a very large shadow go by –  a few feet away from him.  Kinda one of those hair raisers, so he watched as Otis came swimming out again towards him, then got turned around by a big wave that challenged him back to the beach.  And just as he was paddling and jumping through the water to get back to the beach, the shadow passed by Ricardo (like within several feet of where he was standing) in hot pursuit of Otis – it was a crocodile!  Holy shit, and a big one at that, at least ten feet long.  Ricardo yells ‘run Otis’ as the crocodile shows himself now coming through the surf up to the beach and Otis takes off at a dead run, tail tucked, as the croc gets up on the beach and is running as fast as a ten foot croc can run, after him!  Otis turned to look a time or two but never slowed down (btw, Otis is an Australian Cattle Dog) – whatever that thing was it was big and coming after him and he was running for his life!

Ricardo is now on the beach, following the croc following the dog until the croc decides that he has lost his quarry and stops, turns and Ricardo and the croc look at each other full on in the eyes.  Ricardo (who has no stick or machete or anything) says to the croc, ‘this is not good, you don’t want to do this – it won’t be good for either of us’ as the croc looks him over.  Then Ricardo starts screaming and yelling at the croc and waving his arms and lunges at it as it turns tail and heads into the swampy area under the trees.  Whoa!  What just happened?? Ricardo heads back to the truck to check on Otis and a Tico man with a machete is walking towards him in a hurry and shaking his head, saying ‘muy malo, this is muy malo here with the creek dammed up and the water flooded in there, all the crocs have showed up on the beach and are hanging out, too many of them, and the beach is dangerous!  Dogs are the croc’s favorite food.’  Otis is lucky he wasn’t a meal that day.  The man recognized Ricardo and Otis, he is a local and said that he was going to get his shovel and dig out the sand for the creek to flow again so the crocs would leave.

The peace and tranquility of the beach had all but disappeared in a few moments – a croc!  A real live ten foot croc in the wild, up close and personal enough to smell it, to see the armor plates/scales all over him, wow.  The size of his feet (bigger than a man’s full spread hand) with his big and long and sharp toe nails; the size of his tail – had to be close to a foot in depth starting really thick at the base and then flattening out as it lengthened into a paddle, a slim flexible tip with hand dexterity; and how fast that critter could run on the beach and he had been in the water swimming while Ricardo was in the water!  This was a first, for sure, and Ricardo’s feelings (mine, too) AND Otis’ of that beach have changed drastically.  So Ricardo is sitting at the truck reviewing this event while drying off, wrapped in his towel, Otis is safe in the back of the pickup, and Ricardo is looking all around to make sure he is still alone so that he can change out of his swim trunks into his shorts – not a soul in sight.  He has slipped out of his trunks and all of a sudden there is a woman’s voice behind him – he grabs his towel and jerks around to see a very elderly local woman standing there grinning at him, with a motorcycle helmet on, a bag over her shoulder and she was asking for money, or food, even some sex would do.  She looked about 60 year’s old going on 80. He tells her to get, scoot, go away, he didn’t have any money – but she wouldn’t go away!  Oh no, another crocodile!  He finally decides to just drop his towel  to quickly get his shorts on, and manages to encourage her (this hungry crocodile turned woman) to leave him alone! What is with this day?  He loads into the truck and he continues on down the road towards the farmer’s market, as quickly as possible.

Everything is quiet, there are very few people around, as ‘empty’ as could be for any sign of tourists, and only a few locals.  There is a cement bench in the small plaza outside the market where two older (late fifties pushing 70’s?) European women were sitting drinking rum and coke out of cans (it is like eight in the morning) andthey are already half toasted. As Ricardo walks by they hail him to strike up a conversation in what he now refers to as ‘crocodile language’…being polite, he stops…these women are caked with makeup and one of the women spreads her legs to expose her naked stuff under her skirt to him, propositioning him!  Oh no, not another crocodile?!!  Ricardo thinks ‘I gotta get outta here!’ This was so out of character for this market, he was quite dumbstruck about the whole thing.  Quickly he heads into the market and visits with our friend vendors, sharing his crocodile stories along the way.

Yep, it was definitely a crocodile kind of day, they come in various shapes and sizes and not always recognizable, but when you see one – RUN!!!  Other than for those relentlessImage crocodiles, it was a pretty good day!


As for me, now I know why I didn’t need to go to the beach this day!