Ed Petrie

All Under The Place, 21 August, Darwin

After 2 hot and slightly sticky days off in Darwin it was time to get back to work, at a tourist attraction on one of the main streets called ‘Crocosaurus Cove’. Darwin has more saltwater crocodiles than people – an estimated 150 thousand – which is why no-one swims in the sea or rivers round here (the sea’s also teaming with box jellyfish, the most venomous animal on Earth, so this really isn’t the city for you if you’re a fan of water-sports).

Now that the hunting of crocodiles has been clamped down on, the locals make a bit of money showing them off to the tourists instead. And you can’t get much more up close and personal than ‘The Cage Of Death’. Johny and I were placed in a perspex container and lowered into a pool with a very large 80 year old crocodile going by the rather intimidating name of ‘Chopper’. Chopper had his two front legs bitten off by other crocodiles in the wild, which is why ‘Crocosaurus Cove’ ended up looking after him, but that didn’t make him any less terrifying. He circled the cage keeping a beady eye on us at all times, only to be distracted by the odd piece of chicken that they threw in the water. The first time this happened caught us completely off guard. As his huge jaws opened beside us and then slammed down into the water with a surprisingly loud thud, Johny and I screamed like total jessies. I don’t think you can ever call an animal “evil” (carnivores are just doing what comes naturally to them) but Chopper certainly unsettled me more than any animal I’ve come across in the past. I was pretty convinced he wanted us dead.

In the afternoon we paid a visit to the Deckchair Cinema. As the temperature here sticks around the mids 30s for 9 months of the year it’s the perfect place for an outdoor cinema. Johny and I filmed various silly film spoofs with deckchairs crowbarred into them and then donned uniforms to “help” the rest of the staff with the punters. Stuck around to watch a film about Aboriginals, who’ve been walking the land here for over 50,000 years. No doubt a fair few of them have ended up being a crocodile’s dinner over the years…

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