Written by Amos Nachoum
I am on a scouting mission, diving with crocodiles in Botswana, and it is amazing! We have been seeing crocs every day four to five times a day, anywhere from seven feet long and up to 12 feet long.
Today we had an incredible experience. John and Daniel were diving in the river with our guide Brad. They were settling down from diving against the current and were just looking at one croc, taking a few images. The croc started moving slowly and then turned around between Daniel and Brad. Then it went literally over John, crushing on top of him, pressing him to the river bottom, and walking all over him. Then it continued on its own merry way!
So much for the public perception about crocodiles! (The Okavango crocs have an bad reputation along the river, with some people claiming that they terrorize animals and humans along the banks and in boats. But, as you an see from the picture, we are coming away with a very different view of these river crocs.) We have learned so much from Brad and his wife Andy – the ACE team! They have five years experience diving with these amazing and misunderstood animals. Exploring this river with Brad and Andy shows me that once again how knowledge and experience can overcome all fears and old perceptions.
This trip is a great new chapter in my life’s work – to dive side-by-side safely with all water giants. Over the course of this scouting trip I am thinking of you and how I will use my experiences to create the ultimate croc adventure. I am fascinated by this region. The Okavango River drops from its headwaters in Angola down the wide flat delta in Botswana and crosses Namibia’s Caprivi Strip to finish its 1,100 kilometer journey to the Kalahari Desert. Yes, you read that right, the Okavango doesn’t flow into the sea. Its fresh water flows into the Kalahari, fanning out during flood season to form the largest inland delta in sub-Saharan Africa.
Two researchers funded by the Rufford Small Grants Foundation recently took part in an Okavango crocodile research project. They studied the crocodile’s underwater eyesight and their work came up with fascinating results. It’s clear that these creatures have adapted well to their environment and they are very much aware when we are in the water.