Jump to content
Drew

Salt water crocodile attack at Blue Water Mangroves

Killing predators to protect a dive site:  

123 members have voted

  1. 1. Should they kill the salt water crocodile that attacked a diver in Raja Empat?

    • Yes, to protect other divers in this popular dive site. They should remove the threat.
      6
    • No, they should find another solution ( catch and release it elsewhere. etc)
      112
    • I'm not sure as both sides have a point.
      5


Recommended Posts

Drew,

 

I have a question about the crocodile farm in Bali. Is anyone or any organization doing anything about the abandoned crocodiles? I can't imagine them being left there until they've eaten each other even if they are furocious predators.

 

It is facinating for me to read everyone's account of the incident. I'm very curious about the identity of the croc and whether or not he/she had an amputation. I thought that the croc might be missing a hand when he started swimming after me but forgot that detail until I saw my slides after our return home. (yes I love my film...) I wasn't physically attacked and had a bit of amnesia of the event. I can imagine details of the injury event could be difficult. Please let me know if you find out. I would have dove Misool again after my encounter. I don't think I would now. My camera was my barrier and probably not something I would want to rely on again. It is a blessing that the injured diver didn't sever his brachial or axillary artery. I may be a bit less macho in the future.

 

Thanks for all of the information.

 

Lauren

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lauren, when I went 2-3 years ago, it'd been closed for some time already and there were dead crocs with flies and maggots... no staff at all. This is the one in Tabanan. Recently I was chatting with a friend who keeps up with this local stuff and he says they deteriorated even more. I think there are a few different farms and shows.

As for David's particular crocodile, I think it best to ask David to post what he remembers. According to Alex, he felt the croc was 3.5-4m which is approximately length as your 10-12ft crocodile in Oct 08.

I totally understand your trepidations in diving Nampale again and I wouldn't take the threat lightly either. I'd be interested to get an update on the condition of the croc before making a decision to avoid diving the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Drew

You are very kind, thanks.

No, I didn,t go with David and his friend to Sorong. We talked by satellite phone next morning, but signal was really dirty and I just

could say if they don,t trust Sorong hospital, they sould go to biger city.

As you know, they are now in Singapoore. I keep contact with them and I know his recovery is quite good.

 

Just one more thing, please, because I desagree with second hand versions that I,ve read here about who helped David on the bottom in those first dramatic moments. Only his friend Jesús went down and fought with his hands against the animal. Dive master that was with them into the water, he never submerged again. I.m not censuring his behavior, of course, but in this case,

I think we just have a hero: Jesús.

 

Thank you and regards

 

Fernando B.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fernando

Thank you for clarifying that. Many local dive masters have a deathly fearf of crocodiles (buaya), almost to the point of supernatural fears. Whenever we find crocs in Indo water, the local guys fly out of the water and stay out until we leave the area. I would not judge or blame them at all, nor should anyone else.

Jesús is obviously a stellar dive buddy and should be commended for his bravery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was working in raja ampat around 12 years ago when nobody even new it was there. Now people, tourists should I say know how remote it is and should know they must take more care in these remote places. I saw many photographers in that time push the limits of the envirnoment just to get a picture. It looks like the croc got the upper hand this time. (even if there was no camera)

We all go to these places Raja Ampat for one reason and one reason only, it is one of the last places on earth that is so pristine and not destroyed by Tourist. So the croc bites someone. Next time stay away from it. I think this is a lesson for all divers/photographers me being one of them, dont destroy something so wonderful just to get your picture. And if you see a salt croc swim the other way..

Edited by puffer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think most of us agree that it's not the salties fault.

 

Regarding the killing of animals attacking people on dive sites, it cant be blamed on the animals at all! I'm mostly referring to the morays in Cayman. I worked as u/w photographer on many of the boats there and you will be surprised by how the morays and stingrays are handled and fed.

 

 

 

For example the moray that lives right behind stingray city on the reef. When you visit this site you will find you don't need to look for the moray as the moray looks for you. Locals, boat crew and divers have been feeding these animals for years. As soon as this moray sees you diving down towards him he will swim out towards you looking for his meal of the day. Many times before I had to give the poor eel a bonk with the camera dome as I got the feeling that he is trying to attack me. But all he was trying to do is go for my fingers as they look like his favorite meal, the squid that every one feeds him.

 

 

 

On the other hand the guides on the different boats push the limits. Handling the eel with their hand, wrapping it around them and allow the brave customers to come forth and touch it. Just over 2 years ago one of these guides was doing just this, entertaining his customers when the eel "tried to attack a young girl". The green moray bit the guide on the wrist and in the motion of trying to pull the eel off its sharp teeth cut all the way down his arm. Long story short; Moray is dead, tour guide lost use of 2 fingers and can't do any heavy lifting with his arm.

 

 

 

Now you decide who was in the wrong and what should be done? We have two arguments here:

 

1. The guide was in the wrong because this is the eel's habitat and instinct.

 

2. Tourism in Cayman islands is a source of income for most of the locals. When something goes wrong like an eel come in between them and making money, the eel will come off second best as "we can not have dangerous animals scaring the tourists away''.

 

 

 

Is this not why the tourist is there?

 

 

 

I am sure you know which argument I support…

 

 

 

I guess this is different to our salty friend as he has not been fed, but still just acted on natural instinct. If you ask me the diver is in the wrong and therefore we can not kill this animal just because it acted like it is suppose to act.

 

 

 

On a serious note though I don't think that croc will try attack a diver again. Only a donkey will make the same mistake twice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I echo what was written by others in this thread, leave the croc alone. He belongs where he is, we are just trespassing.

Please do not try to sanitize and make everything risk free.

Anyone who wants to dive the mangroves should be made aware that there is an added risk involved, for those who are willing to live with it fine, those who don't should skip those dives. I don't agree with making the area off-limits nor to remove the croc to make it safe.

Thousands of people die or get mangled every year in car accidents and I do not seen anyone proposing to ban cars altogether, let's put things in perspective.

I wish the unfortunate diver (and the croc too) a speedy recovery from the incident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you ask me the diver is in the wrong and therefore we can not kill this animal just because it acted like it is suppose to act.

CJC

The purpose of the thread is not to assign blame on either the diver or the croc. It is to protect the croc from extermination.

 

I've forwarded all info on radio tags to the relevant people so there mat yet be another solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All. I'm Alfie from Malaysia and was also on the above cruise with David, Jesus, Fernando, Alex +++. Just wanted to echo Fernando, Jesus was a star, as was David with his quick & cool thinking

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been in contact with David and he's back at home resting after the surgeries to repair the damage.

I think part of the confusion came about because the boat operator felt I've accused them of trying to hunt the croc, which I did not. As Mark Erdmann has mentioned, anyone doing the culling will be from the PHKA or locals doing their thing. If I've inadvertently alluded that the Ondina operation has those plans, I apologize for not making it absolutely clear that is not the case. No operator has openly asked for the croc to be removed from the area, AFAIK.

I don't pretend to know all the facts but I've been told by PHKA there is no plan right now to cull the croc in question. The option of radio tagging the injured croc has proposed to CI.

Hopefully the operators whose clients do request to go to the area will support such measures for the safety of their clients. It's such a beautiful area that to close it off for divers would be a pity. Not to make light of David's injuries or the risks, but it seems Lauren's camera rig may have thwarted the attack by providing a barrier.

It is a testament to David's experience and fortitude that he managed to live to tell the tale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Drew and everyone else,

 

I've been following this discussion and am heartened to see that divers have a real empathy for the animals they dive with. This diver's story is compelling and important to share, both for the aspect of simply working to be safe in the water but also for the fact that, as many of the forum participants have noted, acknowledging that we are in THEIR territory and must assume risk. Determining what level of risk is acceptable is a discussion in itself.

 

Is there a way I could contact David -- I don't know his last name or his address -- to discuss dong a story? I have no desire to invade his privacy or to cast any blame on either him, the operator or the croc. It's simply a story of a sporting accident that we can all learn from, on so many levels.

 

---Divewriter

 

I've been in contact with David and he's back at home resting after the surgeries to repair the damage.

I think part of the confusion came about because the boat operator felt I've accused them of trying to hunt the croc, which I did not. As Mark Erdmann has mentioned, anyone doing the culling will be from the PHKA or locals doing their thing. If I've inadvertently alluded that the Ondina operation has those plans, I apologize for not making it absolutely clear that is not the case. No operator has openly asked for the croc to be removed from the area, AFAIK.

I don't pretend to know all the facts but I've been told by PHKA there is no plan right now to cull the croc in question. The option of radio tagging the injured croc has proposed to CI.

Hopefully the operators whose clients do request to go to the area will support such measures for the safety of their clients. It's such a beautiful area that to close it off for divers would be a pity. Not to make light of David's injuries or the risks, but it seems Lauren's camera rig may have thwarted the attack by providing a barrier.

It is a testament to David's experience and fortitude that he managed to live to tell the tale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Divewriter

David has registered here as a member so hopefully he will contact you if he wishes. I can't act as an intermediary to a pseudonym unfortunately.:) :) Good luck with your story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Drew. Of course I understand. My name is Renee Duncan, and I was editor of DAN's Alert Diver magazine for 15 years. I am now retired but still free-lancing from the Keys. David's story would be a welcome addition to Alert Diver, if he wants to talk about it. If not, then I understand.

 

Divewriter

David has registered here as a member so hopefully he will contact you if he wishes. I can't act as an intermediary to a pseudonym unfortunately.:) :) Good luck with your story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drew,

 

I've been curious about how David is doing healing from his injuries and if anyone is still diving the area. Any news?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFAIK, David is well on the mend. I haven't paid attention to who has gone to Nampale after the incident, just those who publicly say they won't go back. I'd still go. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am 'the' David who grappled with the croc. I am recovering slowly. Hopefully, the dramatic scars on my arms won't fade completely. I am convinced that in my case they make me more handsome.

 

I want to thank Drew, Eric, Alex (Mustard) and the entire wetpixel community for your kind messages of support. In particular I want to express my appreciation to the Alex[es] (Safanov Sr & Jr), Fernando and Alfie who were with me on the Ondina and have been in touch.

 

I am in the process of writing about my experience and I would very much like to hear from any of you who have:

 

a) been diving in the Nampale Blue Water Mangroves since 13 April 2009.

b) seen a crocodile there at any time in the past.

c) been actively searching for a crocodile there at any point (whether you found it or not.)

d) had a diving encounter with a wild, untethered, saltwater crocodile anywhere, not just at the BWM.

e) been on the Ondina on my cruise.

 

Please drop me a personal message. I'd love to chat with you. Let me know how to reach you.

 

Once I have finished writing I will post a link here for these who wish to read it.

Edited by raja.diver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear you're doing well. I too have been on the ondina several times. I have nothing but good to say of the boat and crew. I have also been diving in the area , where you were confronted. I remember hoping to see one. I guess I was lucky/unlucky.I hope they still go there. Hope you continue to dive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear that you are doing well David, speedy recovery.

 

Also happy to note the poll answers. I can't believe the sentiments of a celebrated snapper I recently met on my travels who's steadfast reaction was to shoot the animal to make the area safe for tourism dollars again. That really shocked me to hear, given the person airing that view.

 

Cheers and get well soon David.

Mark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to put my two cents in here. I absolutely cannot believe that anyone would consider killing a crocodile who happened to harm a diver intruding on his territory. Well, I can believe it -- but I can't believe that any underwater photographer or underwater enthusiast would consider this.

 

The poll is fine, but where is the choice of: leave the animal alone, and don't dive at the site any longer. Since when has diving a particular site been so important that animals must be killed or removed so that divers and underwater photographers can dive it "safely."

 

I am not often shocked at how narrow-minded and selfish the human race is, never mind underwater photographers. But I am shocked at some of the comments and opinions here. We have the entire world to visit and dive in. If a place is unsafe, then let's avoid it.

 

Norbert Wu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that David isn't a photographer, but I would like to express my thanks for his article, for sharing his experience with the diving community.

 

Having dived Nampele, I'm not afraid to say that I would go back, but I would be horrified to hear of a crocodile being killed or even moved just because I wanted to.

 

If the chance of an attack is high, then we shouldn't go back, no matter how tempting the site is.

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/uploads/monthly...-1241892478.jpg

 

Tim

 

:)

Edited by tdpriest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shot this wobbegong there two weeks ago!

post-4197-1264178515.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John, your WB is a bit off... sort of green

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...