An amazing – and slightly terrifying story – has emerged out of Australia’s remote Top End overnight. A New Zealand kayaker, who had been trying to explore an island in the remote Kalumburu region in the north of Western Australia has been rescued after spending two weeks trapped on an island being hunted by a six metre long saltwater crocodile.
The man, known only as Ryan, was rescued by local man Don McLeod who spotted a light out on Governor Island – between Derby and Kununurra in the state’s far north – and went out to investigate. McLean came across the hatless, shirtless Ryan who had all but run out of his meagre food and water supplies.
“When I came round through Red Bluff opposite Governor Island I saw a flash in the scrub,” Mr McLeod told ABC radio.
“I went across and Ryan came out looking a bit distraught. He came down the beach, he had no hat on and no shirt on.”
“He was relieved and shocked, and thankful someone had come along because he was running out of options pretty quickly.”
He was a bit distraught, was he? You don’t say.
When McLeod had calmed Ryan down a bit, he learned what had happened to the man.
Having travelled to the Northern Territory from Queensland on board a yacht, Ryan was subsequently left stranded in the Kimberley when the boat’s owner was arrested.
After a few months stuck in the Kimberley, Ryan ended up hitching a lift with a solo yachtsman over to Western Australia where he had himself dropped on the island (which would subsequently become his prison) with 160 litres of water, some flour and dried food stores.
Ryan apparently soon realised that he wasn’t prepared for the wilderness and tried to make his way back to the WA mainland in a 2.5 metre long kayak. Which was about the time he made himself a, um, friend.
“He said every time he got in his little kayak, which was only 2.5m long, this crocodile – who has lived there for many years and is a monster – has chased him,” Mr McLeod said.
Ryan apparently told Mr McLean that he estimated that the croc who had terrorised him for the best part of two weeks was at least six metres long – over twice as big as his kayak.
McLeod said that Ryan had been desperate for water when he’d found him – so he’d given him an ice cold beer instead.
“We gave him a cold beer, which was probably the wrong thing,” said McLeod. Surely nobody in the history of the world has ever needed a beer more than Ryan would have at that point. “Then he went to sleep about three-quarters of the way home.”
According to SBS Ryan has been given a bed at the local mission while he recovers from his ordeal.
Memo to self; never go solo kayaking in Western Australia.