Photo: Four deadly crocodile attacks in four years...
Denny told us his boys wouldn't dive to clean Sänna's
hull. 'Cocodrilo' they said. At first we didn't understand Denny's poor English but it was obvious they were highly agitated about something. "Cocodrilo," repeated Denny, then he reached for his smart phone to show me his previous evening's video.
Crocodile! Now it was clear even to me with my terrible Spanish. The four of them sat in their panga laughing, trying to edge each other into the water but they were having none of it. Meanwhile, I was desperate to get Sänna's
hull and prop cleaned before we left Bahiá Del Sol for Golfo Fonseca and Honduras, Denny explained that a big four-metre long crocodile had been seen swimming amongst all of the moored boats just off the village. I later learned that fishermen on the island had tried towing dead chickens through the water to catch the thing or to entice it away to some other place. We ourselves didn't even realise there were
crocodiles in the Bahiá Del Sol - we had been happily paddling around in our inflatable dinghy for weeks.
The ferocious croc in Bahiá Del Sol was an American Saltwater Crocodile. Reading up on the website CrocBite
, an amazing online data source that records every worldwide crocodile attack ever, probably since the advent of Adam & Eve, there have been a number of vicious croc attacks in El Salvador. Since 2007 there have been four attacks, the latest in 2016 when thirty year old Edgardo Antonio Velasque was mauled whilst fishing in El Zanjon El Chino. In all, the American Crocodile has been responsible for three hundred and eighteen human attacks throughout the croc-infested Americas - and this croc is not even amongst the most deadly. Worldwide, four thousand one hundred and eighty attacks are recorded on CrocBite
to date, two thousand six hundred of those being fatal... and in all of those, two thousand four hundred and twenty three have been the ferocious Saltwater Crocodile, with the Nile Crocodile not far behind with one thousand three hundred and five. So the American Croc is a mere docile baby compared to those two man-devouring beasts.
Having spent a good deal of time in northern Australia with Sänna
, we are well used to the dangers of the deadly Saltwater Crocodile that sees off so many Aussies there. We remember the time when a six-metre monster followed us through the tidal lock into the marina in Darwin and being warned in Gove not to take the same route ashore in the dinghy more than three times - a fourth time would be fatal. We never went into the water until we got well past Cairns... then it was sharks and the jellyfish that got you. But we never thought for one second that benign El Salvador would be croc savage.
Denny and his boys did go into the water to clean the hull. I dangled the fifty bucks as bait and the temptation was just too great. They thought about things for a while then decided the money made the risk acceptable. My mistake then was jokingly pointing to a disturbance in the water, at which time all three of them leaped vertically out of the water like ballistic missiles heading for Russia.
Denny, still dry as a bone in his panga, thought this hilarious...
Please visit our SV Sänna website for more details of our circumnavigation voyage from the UK. Also at www.facebook.com/SV.Sanna. Like our Facebook page if you'd like to receive more news about our sail adventure. You can contact us here.
Read more about the mishaps and mayhem of Nellie, The Ship's Cat