But people were still bathing in the river, washing clothes while their little kids ran all around, so... ´what gives? We learned that there was a big mama croc and her 7, or 8, maybe 10 (depending on who is telling you) little ones. She was holed up in the freshwater pond alongside the river, not IN the river.
"Don't worry," folks said. "She'll stay in the pond." They are actually feeding her, to keep her there -- fattening her for a future pueblo-wide barbecue! We've heard of these barbecues... Guille himself told us how he waded into the water to wage a death-battle with a (purposely) fishing-net-ensnarled crocodile. The croc was rolling and rolling and enraged as he approached and encircled it by the neck -- and with an expertly placed hack of his machete, he dispensed with it.
Still, when returning from a great ocean day and tranquilly spectacular sunset -- as we did almost every evening -- yeah, still we would shine our little headlamp all over the river and along the banks, and the little trail beside the holding pond. We were looking and hoping NOT to see any glittering yellow eyes reflecting back at us. Never have yet.
But we've seen HER now. She is big. Looking like a dark log some distance below the murky water.... that is, until her nose slowly emerges for an exchange of air and then quietly slips back into the water without a ripple.
As for her kids... well, that is why we were walking around the pond that day. We heard that one of her kids was dead and Robert grabbed his machete. We found it -- by the smell of course. And Robert hacked off it's toothy head with a mighty machete stroke. In time, the skin will fall away and the skull will join the various others in our collection.
Clearly, we have lost our fear of the croc... not our caution, but we're not really daunted by them.
Speaking of mighty machete strokes... and of Guille. I wish I had a video of Guille's mighty slash and catch from this very morning! Upon his advice, we agreed to let him take down the 16-foot tall male papaya tree in front of our porch -- the one mentioned in previous blogs as being our "television." Male papayas put out endless quantities of flowers -- which attract a circus of flying creatures most notably hummingbirds. We would sip our coffee and enjoy the show. But after awhile, they grow too tall and that is all they do -- grow taller.
SO! This morning, Guille stopped by, stood next to the towering papaya tree -- drew his arm back and then in one mighty stroke with his machete, completely severed the trunk. THEN! with his left hand, he deftly caught the upper 12-foot trunk before it ever hit the ground -- and carried it out to our compost pile. So smooth.....