CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Don Waterson.
CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Don Waterson.

Rogue croc chases dinghy



FOR 13 years, Don Waterson has walked past the crocodile warning sign at the Coorooman Creek boat ramp and taken little notice.

All that changed this week when the Emu Park resident came face to face with a 21/2-metre rogue crocodile.

Mr Waterson, a retired schoolteacher and principal, and his fishing buddy David Hower, yesterday told how the fearless reptile had chased their 3.9m dinghy.

Mr Hower's wife Susan was also on board.

They had been putting crab pots in a creek, about 1km from the boat ramp, on Sunday when Mr Waterson spotted the crocodile sunning itself on a bank.

"As the creek was quite narrow we passed within a couple of metres without incident,'' he said.

But it was a different story when they returned for the pots. "As we idled past the spot where we had previously seen the croc, it surfaced about 20m away and started swimming towards the boat,'' Mr Waterson said.

"We backed off, but the croc continued to follow the boat for a couple of minutes before submerging.''

The creek was about 10m wide.

"The croc was very determined to see us off,'' said Mr Waterson, who had been at the front of the boat with camera in hand.''

Mr Hower was driving.

"I had the boat in reverse when it started swimming towards us,'' he recalled.

"It went down (submerged), then I really put it in reverse. I don't think anybody said anything, but everyone felt the same.

"You could definitely tell it wasn't frightened of us.''

Mr Hower was more conservative about the crocodile's length, estimating it at "at least 2m''.

"It was a pretty solid one. It looked like it had been eating well.''

Mr Waterson feared the crocodile may pose a danger to unwary fishermen and could be a female guarding her territory.

"In future I will take notice of the signs and I advise other fishermen to do the same,'' he said.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said the sighting was a reminder that we share waterways with estuarine crocodiles.



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