Thursday, October 17, 2013

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat....

"You're gonna need a bigger boat.".  A legendary quote from the blockbuster movie "Jaws".  The quote is still as relevant today as it was in 1975 when the movie was released.

Alligator, Croc, Gator
A crocodile at the Fort Worth Zoo
A few months ago we were watching a program on the NatGeo (National Geographic) channel about how a wildlife refuge in the Philippines was on the hunt for a monster crocodile.  Several people had gone missing in a village where the people survived off of fishing, so to have a monster croc preying on them while they were trying to feed their families was creating havoc.

A wildlife refuge expert was contacted to come and catch this beast.  The man came out with his 12 foot metal jon boat thinking the villagers were exaggerating and he'd be in and out of there in a day or two.  The expert started interviewing the villagers trying to ascertain the actual size of the croc and one of the last people he interviewed was a man whose home was out over the river.  Not only had this villager seen the croc, but the croc had come right alongside his deck scaring the man half to death.  Since the villager had a very close call with this beast, he was able to give the expert distinct areas as to where the croc's nose began and where its tail ended.

My family and I sat there transfixed to the tv as the villager showed the length of this croc.  Looking at my husband, I said "he's gonna need a bigger boat".  The expert took out his tape measure and measured out the distance:  19 feet and some inches.  Immediately my husband broke out into the theme song from the movie "Jaws".

As my husband continued singing "duuuuh....... dum", we watched as it took around 100 men from the village, as well as experts from the wildlife refuge, to finally capture this monster croc alive. The croc measured in at 20 feet 3 inches, and 2,370 pounds and they loaded it onto a cart that looked like it had been made by cavemen.  A link to the National Geographic story is HERE.

We know there are alligator hunters here in the United States who have caught some world record 720-740+ pound alligators which measure some 13-14 feet long.  When we have seen photos of these catches, we get the distinct feeling most of these kind of hunters look like they "are gonna need a bigger boat".  As we were discussing these big crocs and gators, my husband was quick to remind me of my own up-close and personal experience with an alligator when I was a kid.

I was visiting my grandparents in Mobile, Alabama.  They had a small lake just around the corner from their house.  The lake had paddle boats, and other fun stuff for kids to do there.  One day after pleading relentlessly to go to the lake, my grandfather took my brothers and I out to the lake to ride the paddle boats.  The boats only had 2 seats, so my 2 oldest brothers rode together while I rode with my youngest brother.

We had a grand time!  It was so much fun.  While my brother and I paddled ferociously around the lake doing our best to simulate the speed of a motorboat, we noticed that no matter where we went, this knobby log kept popping up right next to and behind us.  I decided to reach my hand out to push on it to see if it was somehow attached to our boat, but it was juuuuust outside of my reach.

About that time the horn blew signaling the end of our rented time, so we headed back to the docking area.  Wouldn't you know it that when we got to the dock, that log was again trailing right behind us.  My grandfather said he saw me try to reach out and touch the log in the water.  With humor he told us that we shouldn't ever do that because it could've been an alligator.

I was horrified, and it must've shown as my grandfather got a good chuckle out of it, as did my oldest 2 brothers.  My youngest brother was like me in thinking it wasn't all that funny.  We drove back to my grandparents' house and sat down to watch the evening news.  The lead story that night was with a news reporter who was broadcasting live from the lake we had left .......... because a 6+ foot long alligator had just been found in it.

Apparently that was no log I was reaching out to touch! There was a reason that "log" was following our paddleboat.  Apparently we smelled like dinner.  I have never had much of a desire to go paddleboating since then........... but if I did go paddleboating, you can bet that I would want a bigger boat.

by:  Christie Bielss

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