Sunday, November 11, 2007

Crocodile Hunter: Mexico Style

Imagine: you're at the beach, hitting a volleyball back and forth with your husband, when screams sound from the water. People are running for the shore, holding their children above the surface.

Shark? you wonder.

This is the Pacific, stranger things have happened. You walk towards them to see what's going on. Scanning the water you spot a pair of eyes and a bumpy head break the surface.


Yes, a crocodile. In the ocean. A whopping two feet long, tail included.

There's a small wildlife sanctuary (for lack of a better word) at one of the hotels and one of the critters got out. I thought there was a net or something to keep them in, but apparently they're free to roam as they please. A lot of people went back in the water when they realized how small it was, while others crowded near the water's edge, trying to spot him. An American woman told me her husband saw a seven-footer that morning – I bet the swimmers would run for cover if they knew momma might be close by.

The crocodile didn't do much; he would drift with the current, then swim back to where he started. After a while, activity on the beach went back to normal... until a new wave of screams erupted from the same area. These were different people who didn't know they were sharing the waves with a toothy beast.

Ibis can't pass up this much excitement, so he joined his lifeguard buddy and ran into the water. They were going to catch him! Right. I watched from shore as they dove and splashed, yelling "Alla esta" every few minutes. Ten minutes later he returned empty handed. No croc for him today.

I was hot from playing volleyball and wanted to go in the water for a minute, just long enough to cool off, but I was afraid to go in by myself so I made Ibis go with me. We waded up to our waists and were jumping the waves when a fisherman passed by (he was in the water fishing with a large net) and said something to us. I didn't understand what he said (shocking) and all Ibis said to me was "Don't jump around too much."

"Huh? Why?"

"There's a lot of rays in the sand." As in sting rays. The creature that killed Steve Irwin, the real Crocodile Hunter. We looked at each other and ran for shore.

No sense tempting fate twice.


John Elder Robison said...

That's the trouble with tropical paradises. They are full of deadly things.

I had a small gator lunge clean out of the water at me once, in Florida.

Melanie Avila said...

Yeah, I stayed well on shore and let the people without common sense splash around in the water.

Someone even asked how bad a bite could be from a croc that size. Animal expert that I am (lol), I said probably similar to a bad dog bite.

Voyager said...

lmao, Mel. The stingrays there aren't them giant ones like the ones that killed SI. They're the little ones that people make a nasty, smelly ceviche with and burn like a son of a bitch when you step on them. Ibis would have had to pee on your foot to make it better :P.

Melanie Avila said...

I know they're little, but they still freak me out. I grew up near Lake Michigan where the scariest things are carp and seaweed - none of these tropical beasts. :)

And I can do without the pee, thanks. lol.