Meeting Gustaf in Palawan

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ December 20th, 2009. Published in: Travel blog » Philippines.
Sleeping baby crocodiles (click to enlarge)

Sleeping baby crocodiles (click to enlarge)

Gustaf is the infamous crocodile in Africa, the legendary man-eater that many have failed to catch. I like the idea of something from nature biting back at humanity. I’ve also seen crocodiles in the wild, and kept my distance. One needs to respect the crocodile, it’s

Baby crocodiles watching you

Baby crocodiles watching you

sole purpose is eating live creatures and reproduction. It’s as old as the dinosaurs, and; it outlasted them.

Crocodile waiting, and lurking

Crocodile waiting, and lurking

The thing that I like about a crocodile is that it’s damn obvious they are looking at you. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what they are thinking.

Dark logs floating in still water. A ripple. A few spiky bits. That was it. In Africa you know the danger is there. The movies don’t portray that in a lot of crocodile territory there is thick mud. Your foot, or leg can easily become engulfed. Then you are pretty much menu food if you think you’re going to out run

one of these fellows.

In Peurto Princesa’s Crocodile farm one would thing you would not be so easily “aware” of the danger. But I got a really close up view of a giant crocodile I will not forget so quickly. A reminder.

The Philippines version of Gustav

The Philippines version of Gustav

Most of the crocodile farm is made of giant tanks for breeding baby crocs. There are dozens of them. And, I don’t think it’s all to do with preservation. There’s a fair trade in crocodile skin in Asia.

Do not get in with the Crocodiles signs are not needed

Do not get in with the Crocodiles signs are not needed

It was outside in the park that I got the close up view. I was walking up a set of steel steps to a viewing platform when between the the steps I saw the head of the largest crocodile I’ve been near. The body shuffled and the next view looked like a double bed.

I tried to photograph the crocodile, but even if he wasn’t sheltering from the sun under the steps there was nothing to put it’s size into perspective. He was alone in a large enclosure.

Giant crocodiles in Palawan

Giant crocodiles in Palawan

Taking a photograph would have made him look like any of the others. Now if there was a person in there with him …

Having found a homestay next to the dock area of  Peurto Princesa I am once again alone and away from the backpacker crowd. I’m encountering a new stage to my travels. I am finding an affinity to a “class” of people most walk by and ignore.

The backpacker refereed to this place as the “slums” .  I avoid the Politically Correct terminology that can tangle up a conversation and loose it’s original meaning or purpose.

All I know is that this Christmas, I am getting the present of a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future.  This is something I was not expecting from my travels. I’ll publish it on the 25th.

Coming Soon: Stilt houses and squatters, seeing myself in the waters reflection


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4 Great responses to Meeting Gustaf in Palawan

  1. Ooh..nice tease about your Christmas plans! Guess I’ll have to keep on reading…great post as usual. Cheers!

  2. flip says:

    happy holidays!!!