When I was on my Botswana safari last year, I wanted to get a good shot of the world’s most dangerous crocodile – the Nile crocodile, which along with hippos and lions account for several hundred deaths and disappearances in central Africa each year.
We saw plenty of fine specimens basking in the sun along the banks of the Chobe River, but none in the water. So I asked my boatman to stop near this large beast (he was about five metres long – about the average adult length of these reptiles), and I slipped over the back of the boat into the river to see if I could attract him into the water.
For while the croc didn’t move, so standing waist-deep in the river, I started splashing water towards the croc and shouting: “Come and get me you ugly Crocodylus niloticus!”
That caught his attention and he slowly crawled off the bank and into the water to enable me to get this shot.
I was about to climb back into the boat when I realised that my boots were stuck in the mud at the bottom of the river, and I couldn’t move.
If that wasn’t bad enough, suddenly two aggressive hippos broke away from a bloat of hippopotami that had been quietly drifting past in the middle of the river (see first Workshop post) and started swimming towards me snorting loudly.
My boatman screamed at me to get back in the boat, but my feet were well and truly stuck in the mud.
With my life flashing before my eyes, sinking in the water up to my chest – a man-eating croc coming at me from one direction and two angry hippos from the other - I thought I was a goner.
But it was not to be the end of banyanman after all, because just at that moment two elephants that had been crossing the river behind us (see second Workshop post) bellowed at the croc and the hippos and that momentarily distracted them enabling me to toss my D100 into the back of the boat, dive under the water and undo the laces on my boots, and scramble back into the boat.
As I pulled my legs out of the water, I felt one ankle brush against the jaws of the advancing crocodile – I’d released myself from my boots in the nick of time. A narrow escape indeed!
If anyone finds a pair of Loof Lirpa brand boots floating down the Chobe River, please return them to me.
Critiques | Translate
Traveller (672) 2007-04-01 1:36
Oh, my god, what a story! I am glad you are with us after that! It is VERY interesting to see a crocodile so close in its natural environment. And they are strong! Please, just be more careful next time!
robertosalguero (284) 2007-04-01 2:02
Not sure you will get your boots back but you seem to have got a second chance David. Your recopilation of that encounter with such a beast is very interesting. I bet you have enough material to write a very short story about this incident. Good picture, well exposed and composed. Thanks for sharing David.
prumod (8300) 2007-04-01 2:12
very live photo supporting your note strongly....
you are too adventerous!!!!
pablominto (53746) 2007-04-01 2:27
This is a very well composed image, where the movement follow the direction it should!
Excellent details, and that eye really looks like evil...
...And the note is great!
vincz (19113) 2007-04-01 3:32
Scary, very scary. The shot is scary your note even more. The picture is excellent with great colours and so realistic!
bakes888 (18499) 2007-04-01 4:45
Hi David. Great story and great photo. You have caught excellent detail and good colour and he does look angry. Thanks for sharing.
gelor (3229) 2007-04-01 5:13
L'aventure c'est l'aventure... Merci pour ces instants de plaisir. Bon dimanche.
riclopes (35577) 2007-04-01 6:31
Are you insane ?!?!?!!? What the hell were you thinking, getting inside a river full of very dangerous man-eating croc and hipos? Fascinating story, David - it looks like an Indiana Jones adventure ;-) The thread ruined your surprise, though - I would problably been caught... ;-) And all three shots are wonderful. This croc is quite a gorgeous ugly species and it looks real dangerous and frightening. Impressive work!
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2007-04-01 9:38
You seam like a true Australian story teller. Like the ones we can only find in Eromanga (SW QLD) or Innamincka (SA)!!! Do I believe you? Oh well… yes! Maybe not. NO!!!
Anyway, that is not the point. I like your croc. Being myself born in that pert of the world (more precisely in Angola), I have to say that they are, the crocs, more beautiful than the Australian ones.
I will be in Botswana this year in September and be assured I will return the Loof Lirpa boots if I can find the 5 meter monster that ate them!!!
TravelerNL (3011) 2007-04-01 16:22
Great made up story, got me for a while before realising it is April 1st today.
The photo of the croc is very sharp with good light and colors.
plimrn (21344) 2007-04-01 19:12
That is clearly the most excitng and well-illustrated story that I seen on on TE!!! I even believed you until the salvation by the elephants caused a niggle of doubt. I had to show the story to my husband the skeptic. When I explained loof lirpa boots, he said, "I've been had!!"
ktanska (27686) 2007-04-02 5:58
You've had a great adventure, even if some story details may have tailored for the April 1st! Well timed shot with croco just entering the river. That skin reflects quite a lot of light making exposure difficult.
jmcl (14535) 2007-04-02 13:39
I will now have to take into account .. every time I look at one of your images .. you dear sir are nuts!!!!!!!! .. in the kindest sense of that statement. : ) .. Even if you do own Loof Lirpa boots.
but it is a wondrous image .. in all that moment .. you somehow really captured the sense of timelessness of these creatures .. the eye I think .. maybe the textures ..
pboehringer (770) 2007-04-02 15:09
Hi Mr. Banyanman,
or shall I say Mr. Loof Lirpa ... you really got me there. I had to do some research to understand your Baron Munchausen story. Anyway, the story as the shot are fantastic and by the way, during my next Africa trip I certainly will get your boots out of the mud and offer them to the elephant Gods.
I hope that at least the crocodile is real and that you used your zoom at 120mm, or isn't the shot also not real?
acordeiro (155) 2007-04-02 17:32
LINDO registo .
capthaddock (28790) 2007-04-02 17:38
What a beast, and what a story, at least it wasn't a saltie from Australia (or perhaps they're equally dangerous), the ws versions can also hold their own, a wonderful 3 in 1.
PJE (20758) 2007-04-02 23:41
My goodness David this is quite the story here. Now I am wondering if there may be other pairs of boots down there in the river that used to belong to tourists just like you.. only they were not as lucky... I can almost hear the Crocs giggling to each other saying "There's a fine meal stuck in the mud...waiting for us to "Take out"!
Excellent workshop photos and a wonderful once in a lifetime story David. I am so glad I stopped by to check it out. I wonder if the Croc let you live because he saw you had a Nikon in your hand. If you were a Canon user you would have been long gone... He He...Thanks for sharing David!
kevinos (7517) 2007-04-04 7:03
Well! It's a very exciting story ,David. I din't realize that member put their lives at risk in order to get a good shot.However scarey it was, you seem to have had time to frame the picture nicely. Regards kevin
feather (51130) 2007-04-06 10:53
I had to come straight here to see your crocodile shot; with the splashes it looks like he was on his way in for a swim. I like how the "nobbles" (that's a technical word)show up on his back.
That's some story. Actually the Costa Rican croc was chewing something but it's a long way from Botswana so I don't think they were your boots. ;D I think you caught some people out with this one David!
batalay (38821) 2007-04-07 19:23
The photo is compelling, the note is a source of shock horror! As I read your note, I thought any second you were going to announce, "Then I woke up," or "April Fool," (you did post it on April 1). But no such luck, no announcement.
Polonaise (5802) 2007-04-08 18:04
When I'm down and out I should, instead of indulge myself into the heavy LSD use while making love to maharini, come to your site and read your stories and look at your pictures.
Effect, more or less, should be about the same.
Total enjoyment, ecstasy of participating in something very enjoyable and refreshing at the same time.
What a fun it is to know the guy like you, dear friend.
PS: I'm looking for your boots inside every crocodile I hunted recently. No luck, so far…But I won't give up. …'cause, a man gotta do what a man gotta do…right?
kensimage (8565) 2007-04-08 19:24
Wow, that's a pretty amazing story! (Of course, it was submitted on April 1, so I don't know...) It must be something in the blood of you Australians. I'll bet you heard your mother's voice in your head after you pulled that stunt. It is not a pleasant experience to find oneself no longer at the top of the food chain. Glad to hear you didn't join Steve Irwin on the "revenge of the wildlife" list. Anyway, it's a great shot. And a great story, fictional or otherwise. Regards, Ken.
chaity (1539) 2007-04-11 8:39
Hi David, I just couldn't believe the adventure you had just to take this photo. My salute to you for bringing this photo just to show all of us here.
xuaxo (6846) 2007-04-12 12:43
The story agrees with the picture (or the other way round).
So, that's a great post!
thea0211 (1365) 2007-04-21 4:14
in one of the photos i commented on earlier there was a crocodile looking log, i see here you have a crocodile looking as himself :) - and a very good close-up if i may add.
reading the story i realize it is an important photo to you, luckily you lived to tell the story .. or you lived to make it up :)
thanks and have a great weekend,
Jeppe (18654) 2007-04-21 16:02
Good to your having a effective zoomlens for jobs like these :-) Surely a meanlooking fellow - I like the angle you got this and the composition - the back with its "spikes" gives extra depth - thanks for sharing.
Standa (1877) 2007-04-24 9:48
you have my two points for the photo (great colours, croco´s skin and composition) and another two for this incredible and hypnotic story. Just I think that your boots are forever lost.
JPlumb (3159) 2007-06-03 20:08
Ha, that is a great shot and even more impressive when married up with your story Dave. Now, if you could have just somehow worked Tarzan (or was that you) and Jane into this story, you'd have had a real prize winner. Very entertaining.
Jgirl (27) 2007-06-09 4:45
Hi David, you're a crazy, crazy man :D As KoreaGreg said, two points for the story alone, and under the circumstances your shot of the croc is wonderfully clear with great composition.
I hope to see more shots from you in the future, but try not to get eaten by anything in your travels :)
matt_moi (318) 2008-01-30 1:22
What a great narrator ! Your story is excellent and the shot too even if only the head of the croco is net.
PS : one point for the shot and one for the story ;-)))
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-09-25
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/320 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2007-04-01 1:28
- Favorites: 2 [view]