Crocodile Hunting by the Light of the Moon

This was to be a perfect night for crocodile hunting—there would be a full moon to silhouette the crocodiles against the shoreline. At 10:00 p.m. when the sky was black and filled with a myriad of bright stars and that brilliant moon, we set out from our boat in a small outboard motorboat, towing a canoe to which we eventually transferred. Using tear-shaped paddles, the canoe glided soundlessly through the water. The boatswain was forward; then myself and the Italian; and finally the deckhand who was paddling. Suddenly ahead—a couple of city blocks, I saw what appeared to be a traffic stop-light. We rowed straight toward the red light. When we were within 100 yards, the boatswain turned on a powerful beam flashlight training it directly on the red light. Suddenly, the red light turned into two red lights; and at this point, I could see that they were the two eyes of the crocodile. The flashlight blinded (or distracted) the crocodile, so he remained motionless as we approached him.

I winced when the boatswain harpooned him. He explained that the skin was so thick it wouldn’t hurt. Then came the tricky moment of putting a line around his long snout and tying it so he couldn’t open those deadly jaws. Then despite his wiggling, they boated him—all six feet of him—into the canoe. Such excitement! The boatswain and his crewmate were grinning and gesturing. The Italian beamed.


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