Saving the Crocodiles - My Big Moment

The boatswain turned to me and said in Portuguese that it was a good night for hunting; we could easily capture five or six crocodiles. I was devastated—crocodiles are an endangered species. Of course, they have never been anything but trouble for the Brazilian natives, so they enjoy the sport and excuse themselves by saying they don’t really kill the crocodiles. The Italian looked at me questioning. This was my great moment, and I am proud of how I played it. I asked the boatswain in Portuguese if the fishing was good at night. He looked puzzled, but replied, “Sim.” I turned to the Italian and I said in Spanish, “It looks like a great night for fishing; now that you have your crocodile, do you want to fish?” He seemed disappointed, but did like the idea of fishing. I told the boatswain that the Italian wanted to fish. The boatswain suggested just two or three more crocodiles first. I said, “No, he wants to fish.”

The boatswain was well prepared and came up with some fish hooks about one inch long. I wondered about bait, but he just laughed and proceeded to troll the bare hooks behind the boat. In five minutes, we had our first 16-inch fish; in 15 minutes, we had a half-dozen, and that ended our night of sport. The following morning the fish were served—the most delicious breakfast that I had ever had. After breakfast, the crocodile was handed to the Italian who posed for his pictures. The crocodile was then dropped into the lake. It didn’t swim away but just sank to the bottom. The crew insisted they didn’t kill crocodiles, but I really doubt that this one recovered. I was doubly glad that I had saved the others.


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