Claire, (my girlfriend at this time) and myself loaded up our four wheel drive ute with a picnic lunch along with our faithful dog Floyd for a day trip to visit a set of water holes about forty minutes from town.
This being tropical Northern Australia we had been originally concerned about the presence of crocodiles but were assured that due to the height of the water falls extending in both directions, that crocodiles could not inhabit the areas pools, besides lots of people had camped and swam there before and no one had ever seen or talked about there being any sign of crocs.
Upon arrival we drove past a couple of occupied spots, some folks with tents while others had just set up for the day.
After passing about three water holes, all with beautifully decorative falls entering and leaving, we finally found an unoccupied one.
An absolutely stunning spot, with large rocky waterfalls at either end and an Olympic sized waterhole in between that was surrounded by giant palm trees and tropical plants.
We set up our small picnic and Claire tossed a ball for the dog while I tossed my clothing into a heap and dived into the dark, cool water.
I swam slowly around the edges, listening to the bird calls, the laughing and bubbling of the falling water as well as Claire’s own delight as she derived pleasure from playing with Floyd.
I noticed a log floating in the middle of the mass of dark water and thought I would swim toward it as an island refuge and rest point.
Then I heard barking.
I looked towards the downward slope of rock and at the edge of the lower falls I saw Floyd, his loud barks forming exclamation marks around the quizzical expression held by Claire at the demise of their game of catch.
“What’s a matter Floydie.” I shouted in glee at him being interested enough in what I was doing to take him away from playing his all encompassing game of fetch.
He dived from the rocks into the water in that belly slapping clumsy way dogs do and started swimming towards me.
I turned my attention back to the log wanting to anchor my self on something secure before the dog would inevitably be reaching for me with thrashing forelegs and scratching pads and paws.
To my absolute shock and terror the log had drifted to face our beloved dog and I instantly realised the truth of the situation.
The log was a crocodile and a mighty big one. It had been laying in wait for its next meal, which was probably going to be me, but it had been distracted by a slightly smaller and more digestible morsel that had dived its way onto its dinner table.
“Out of the water Floyd!” I shouted as a flicker of understanding passed instantly between our locked eyes. He turned and started heading for the bank, I did the same, so did the croc.
The pace that the crocodile closed the gap between itself and Floyd was startling but I did think for a second that Floyd was going to make the bank but about a foot from safety I knew he was reptile lunch.
I couldn’t bare to watch the inevitable and turned away to spare myself the sight of croc eats dog, only to look back a second later to be greeted by nothing but the outward rippling of concentrical circles on the surface of pool.
The crocodile and Floyd were both gone.
He had selflessly allowed his own life to be taken so that I might live.