Kununurra is about 3000 km north of Perth, and borders the Northern Territory which is only about 40 km away. It lies in rich country of the Kimberley region. Cattle, fishing, diamonds, agriculture and unsurpassed beauty of gorges, waterfalls and landscapes, are hallmarks of this region.
I’ve been to Kununurra several times but always for work. I love staying across the road from Lily Creek Lagoon. The Celebrity Tree Park runs alongside it, another favourite haunt of mine, because of the birds.
This trip, time was mine. I would wake before sunrise and drive up to the jetty. The sun rises beyond. It is always spectacular.
I had been told there were crocodiles in the lagoon but had never seen them on other visits. Locals will tell you, “they are just freshies”, meaning, the crocodiles are freshwater crocodiles, not the fearsome “salty” (salt water crocodiles). Freshies will only attack in mating season or when provoked. So they say! I do know, it is wise to heed local caution around these waterways. The region has had a very wet, ‘wet season’ and there is plenty of moving water this year. Reptiles like this.
Early one morning, so early, even the birds had not yet broken the silence of the day, I stood at the water’s edge. There was no one else as far as the eye could see. Then I saw the surface of the water break. An imperceptible movement. I held my breath as the unmistakable silhouette of a crocodile emerged. We shared the same space for less than a minute. Silent. Still. It then slowly swam away with a lazy swish of the tail. The Lagoon was glass again, but, this time, I knew the crocodile was just below the surface. I was thrilled!
In the silence I could hear my heart beat.
Who knew something I feared could thrill me too? I learnt something about myself in that moment.
Nothing was the same again, for the rest of the trip.
More on that later …
a dawn bird