Crocodile attacks Sandy Robson’s kayak

June 29, 2007

Following the link upped by kayak quixotica I read the story about Sandy Robson’s June 5th (day 162 of her round Australia expedition) encounter with a large crocodile following several nights of croc anxeity (as prey):

“The wind was producing a bit of wave action onto a steep beach and the water was not clear so I thought I would go a little further and explore for a more favourable landing. I paddled along next to the big granite rocks on Villis Point and rounded the point to find the perfect sheltered beach with campsite potential on the headland. Around the point the water was sheltered and calm. The beach would be a fantastic landing. Then as I paddled in, I heard Dave Winkworth’s voice in my head. It was him talking about the Gulf, “Crocs like calm water”…I paddled a few more strokes and noticed a few mangroves on the inside of the point. The voice in my head, “Shit! Mangroves”. I dismissed them because there were not many and rationalised that it would be ok. Then SLAM! That sound changed everything… A sound like someone had just slammed two bricks together as hard as possible on the stern of my kayak. My heart rate accelerated. Adrenaline poured into my system. My voice in my head knew that it could only be one thing. I forced myself to turn my head to look. I saw a large croc with its head fully out of the water, jaws open and right on the back of my kayak. I think at this point I may have sworn – “F***!”. I certainly never thought to say Crikey!

Dave’s voice was in my head again “If you see a croc just paddle away”. I considered whether my situation would allow me to paddle out to sea, rather than be chased off the water and onto the shore. Bugger that! In order for me to paddle out of this bay and back out to sea I would have to face a big croc head on – not an option. I happily paddled as fast as I could away from gaping croc jaws and towards the beach. All I could think was “Please don’t get me, Please don’t get me, Please don’t get me, Please don’t get me…” all the way to the beach. Actually I don’t think I just thought it, I said it out loud like some kind of mantra. I did not know if I would be able to pull my spray deck loop, leap out and run up the beach fast enough. This is the place where I knew I would be the most vulnerable to an attack. I took a glance behind to see if I had a croc on my tail. Shit where is it? The bow of the kayak hit the sand and I already had the spray deck off and was running up the beach, thankfully without getting tangled up in my paddle leash. No croc chased behind me so I was able to relax a little and hurriedly pull my kayak up out of the danger zone. Then I saw it in the bay arching its back, puffing itself up and fully displaying its tail. This had certainly been a territorial attack from a large male croc.”

Read the rest of the entry; the croc continues to harrass her and she has to portage out, then sets up camp to decide what to do. I obviously can’t imagine how frightning that must have been!

image from the steve irwin mosaic tribute site

image source 

The late Andrew McAuley also writes about a crocodile encounter in the same area:

“I was momentarily paralyzed as I sat bolt upright in my kayak. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The crocodile, that was not much shorter than my 5.8 metre kayak, did not appear to hesitate as it started swimming towards me. Fortunately I was close to shore. Unfortunately there were only rocks to land on. Keeping an eye on the crocodile swimming towards me I managed to catch a small wave into the rocks. When the cruel sound of gel-coat and fiberglass scraping off the bottom of the kayak brought me to a halt I quickly bailed out. When I turned around the crocodile was on the next wave in behind me. Using myself as bait I attracted the crocodile away from the kayak. When it seemed to lose interest in me, I ran back to my kayak and reluctantly pushed it back into the water. I had to keep moving so as not to run out of water. It was another three days before I reached South Goulbourne Island and spoke to another person about the encounter…

The strong wind had picked up from the southwest and was blowing me into the mangroves. Keeping a very keen eye out for crocodiles I decided to change course and make the most of the wind. All of a sudden there was a loud ‘BANG’ at the back of my kayak. My heart sank and I had a sickening feeling in my stomach, as I looked around expecting to see a set of large jaws crushing the end of my kayak. To my relief I could only see a dark shadow of a shark swim away from my rudder. My paddling speed picked up after that encounter.”

Australia eh?

A LINK to a news story about a canoeist / fisherman knocked into the water and ‘taken’ in 2005 plus a list of other attcks in recent years.

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7 Responses to “Crocodile attacks Sandy Robson’s kayak”

  1. PeterD Says:

    Jeez, that is many steps above the time I paddled above a bat ray and it splashed me as it tried to swim away…

  2. Sandy Robson Says:

    g-day, I just found this story while browsing the net! I am safe and well after the attack and will soon be in Broome, Western Australia, to paddle the WA coast south from Broome. I have decided to leave the top end of Australia until I can get a group to come with me. A group will be safer as it will be more intimidating to the crocs up there and they are less likely to make territorial attacks like the one I experienced in June. Stay tuned to my website, the trip diary will recommence at the end of July/beginning of August. Cheers, Sandy


  3. Hi Sandy
    Thanks for posting a comment. I think its great to have a post about you and a comment from you too. Your ordeal sounds unimaginably scary. Good luck with the rest of your trip.
    Cheers Kieran

  4. Fran Pinkard Says:

    Hi Sandy , John sent us your address & we have been keeping a lookout for news- Boy what an experience with the old croc!
    We admire what you are doing & hope there are not any more close shaves Keep Safe . love from Fran & David

  5. Fran Pinkard Says:

    Good paddling Sandy , We are thinking of you- Keep safe from Fran & David in Tassie

  6. Andrew Ramsay Says:

    Hi Sandy i am one of the blokes you met at Cape Melvile on the 31 may 2007.Hope you get a crew together to finish the top end,with no more croc problems.

  7. turbo jam Says:

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    He was once entirely right. This put up actually made my day.
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