We took the second day to take a river cruse on the Mary River. The tour guide pointed out the safety of the boat. Don’t have your hand dangling over the edge. He asked if we had all seen the photo of how high they can jump. I think most of us nodded. He continued on to tell us that if we dangled a limb over the edge as we might not end the tour with it. He also told us each seat had a lifejacket under it. We were told if we fell into the water not to expect him or anyone else to jump in to save us. He would throw us a lifejacket and help to pull us out if he didn’t see any crocs. If he did see a croc, well we were on our own. Moral of the safety talk, DON’T DANGLE AND DON’T FALL IN.
The tour guide pointed out the birds as he saw them which made our head swing from left to right or up and down as if we were in a great tennis match. Simply incredible. One of the birds was a Comb-crested Jacana. (Yes I did look it up after as by the time I arrive back at the van I had forgotten the name.) They basically live on the water lilies pads. Even nesting on them, when the chicks have hatched they are often carried tucked up under the parent’s wings. I was blown away with its feet. The have very long toes that spread out across the pads. No wonder the young are carried everywhere, as surely they would trip over their own feet when they were tried to first walk.
Then what we had all come to see, a crocodile was spotted. Most of the people ran to the front of the boat for that fantastic shot. We were sitting about halfway down the boat and we were nearly blown into the water by the breeze of the rush. We waited our turn before we casually walked to the front for our photo “first croc in the wild.” There were others crocs to see but there is nothing like the first one. At the end of the cruise it was “oh another one.” There was one that even followed the boat. (Or did we follow it?)
The guide informed us the locals people use to eat the water lilly roots. He picked one for us to taste and also broke apart a little seedpod and showed us how to break the outer covering of the seed to get the softer inner seed. The locals would eat the white seed as well. It tasted a little like a raw peanut. The tour guide said the stalk tasted like celery. He also told us that as the leaves are waterproof the local people would twist a leaf into a pouch to carry water in it. Nifty.
The cruise was lovely even though we could have been eaten by the greatest hunter Australia has at any second, it was still fun. Even without the crocs the trip on the wetlands would have still been amazing.