A KAYAKER looking for adventure on a remote island off the Australian coast got more than he bargained for when he was stalked by a monster crocodile.
The young New Zealander planned to spend a few days looking around Governor Island in the Kimberly region in the north of Western Australia. Instead, he became trapped.
Every time he tried to paddle for his life, the six-metre saltwater crocodile would not let him leave.
The terrified tourist, identified only as Ryan, was trapped on the desert island for more than two weeks. But after he ran out of food and had just a litre or so of water left, rescue arrived.
Don McLeod was passing the island on his way home to Kalumburu from a fishing trip last Saturday when he discovered the unlikely Robinson Crusoe.
He said: “I saw a flash in the scrub up on the hill at Governor Island, about three or four kilometres away. It seemed something unusual, so I went across and spotted him.
“He had no hat on and no shirt on, and he seemed to be a bit relieved, you know. A bit shocked in a way, I suppose.”
Last month, Ryan began exploring the northern coast near Kalumburu. Having been left alone on the 260-hectare deserted Governor Island, Ryan soon realised he did not have enough supplies and attempted to paddle the four kilometres back to the mainland.
But he immediately caught the eye of the saltwater monster, which has lived in the area for years. Every time he attempted to make a dash for it, the crocodile stalked him.
Mr McLeod told ABC Radio yesterday: “I saw a flash in the scrub. I went across and Ryan came out looking a bit distraught. He came down the beach. He said he’d been there a fortnight and he came to the conclusion very quickly that he couldn’t get off there without attracting this crocodile.
“He was relieved and shocked, and thankful someone had come along.”
Ryan’s passage to Western Australia is an incredible story in itself. He travelled from Queensland on a yacht whose owner was then jailed in the Northern Territory, leaving his passenger stranded for two months.
After hitching a lift with a yachtsman to Western Australia, he was dropped on Governor Island with 160 litres of water, some flour and dry stores. But after realising he was unprepared for the Kimberley wilderness, his first attempt to reach the mainland was thwarted by the massive crocodile.
Mr McLeod went on: “He said every time he got in his little kayak, this crocodile – who has lived there for many years and is a monster – has chased him.
“That croc is a very, very big crocodile. One of the biggest I know of around here and it ollowed him around for a while. So Ryan headed back to get under cover and left his kayak up on the rocks about two kilometres from where his camp was.
“I’ve seen that crocodile come past me quite fast a few times,” Mr McLeod said. “My boat’s 20-foot long, so I know he’s well up towards the 20ft mark.
“He [Ryan] was desperate for water when I trotted up.
“We gave him a cold beer, which was probably the wrong thing, and then he went to sleep about three-quarters of the way home.”
The New Zealander has been given a bed at a mission on the mainland as he recovers.