Crocs, Boxer Shorts – and a Sleeping Buddha!

Continuing the newly started tradition of telling some of the older travel stories here’s the story of how I encountered a few crocodiles wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a camera.

I was camping in the Kimberleyland Caravan Park in Kununurra  in January 1998 in the middle of a 5 week 11,000 kilometer outback trip with Amesz Tours going from Perth to Perth the long way – through Darwin and Alice Springs! And in the wet season no less. Some would call it crazy, I call it a holiday! We had just made it through the Gibb River Road in the wet season and every day it was 40 degrees heat or more and with enough humidity, flies and mosquitoes to go ‘troppo’ (a special kind of crazy reserved for the tropics!) in a second. We had one day with 52 degrees heat and you couldn’t touch any rocks when walking in the Kimberleys or your hand would melt. So this nice caravan park with showers and a nice breeze from Lake Kununurra was a welcome two day change from hot bushcamps.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

‘Sleeping Buddha’ Rock in Kununurra sunset
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The caravan park is right next to Lake Kununurra and the above sunset of the ‘Sleeping Buddha’ rock is shot on the bank of the river from the caravan park. It’s a gorgeous place to camp.

The very next morning I wake up in a big pool of sweat – as usual. It’s just before sunrise and the temperature inside the tent is already reaching boiling point – as usual. I look out and my eyes cannot believe that the entire lake is on fire! It’s just before sunrise and the colours are something you would never believe unless you’ve been here in the wet season. I grab my trusty Canon EOS Rebel SLR camera and run the 100 meters or so down to the banks of the river. All the way I am staring at the sky in disbelief, we’ve seen some out of this world sunrises and sunsets every day but still this is something very special and barefooted I run towards the light. Now, when I’m almost at the river bank I hear about 3 or 4 splashes and startled by this sound I take my head out of the sky and look down – just in time to see 3 or 4 crocodiles swimming away rapidly! I stop dead in my tracks eyes wide open! It was not the first crocs I had seen on the trip but certainly the first that I almost ran barefoot straight into dressed in nothing but boxer shorts and a camera (normally when I run into crocs I at least prefer to do it in style and be dressed for the occasion!).

The crocs are gone in a split second or two and I don’t get the lens cap removed and the camera ready nowhere near fast enough. I get no photo, I just stand there saying ‘wauv’ to myself pausing for a bit until I remember…the sunrise! The crocs may have gone but the light show is still on so I manage to get a few shots with the blood red sky on fire.

I wasn’t much of a photographer back then so I underexposed them way too much but have managed to rescue them somewhat by scanning the Fujichrome slides using Vuescan software and working them in Photoshop. Here’s the best two, click to see large:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

‘Sleeping Buddha Rock’ sunrise
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography


Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Sunrise at Lake Kununurra
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I wish I could reshoot this with the camera and skills I have today but I still like the photos, the colours are spot on and exactly as I remember them from this special morning. I can’t help but think though how fantastic the photos would have been with a few crocs in the foreground!

8 Comments on “Crocs, Boxer Shorts – and a Sleeping Buddha!”

  1. I did,nt realise you did this trip on a tour.Why don,t you buy an old van next time and throw a tent in the back,and just go for it.We will be taking our van and doing it rough when I come back from the US. Up to Cape York and across to Arhnem Land,winter is a good time up there.Love your shots Bo, when are you coming back?

  2. Hi Birte. I like tours and not all of them are of the AATKings golden oldie coach variety 😀 This was 5½ weeks of very rough outback bush camping in tents driving in a big 6WD (!) truck. We went to places I never would have made it to nor found on my own – it was also my first time in Oz.
    I hope to be back in Australia very soon, maybe Aug-Sep !

  3. I was not thinking golden oldies LOL, and did not realise it was your first time.Though 51/2 weeks is not a long time for a country as huge as this.My husband (Norwegian) and I do it ourselves and really rough it, the trip we are doing will take about 2 months and into some very rough territory,we are looking for the giant python up north, a very elusive fellow, and parts of that terrain you can,t even drive through.How long are you planning the next trip to be? I like Denmark, but think after a while I would get bored there,OZ is a photographers paradise, you would need a lifetime to discover it all!

  4. This trip in 98 was my first, I've been back 5 times and every time I go I feel my "must see" list just gets longer! My 7th trip to Australia will be shorter, maybe 3-4 weeks – I have a photography company to run at home as well. I've been up to Cape York, amazing place!

  5. Nice little story there. I had to laugh because I know the spot and pictured it all too well. I stayed at the same spot a few years back. Great location for a caravan park. I managed to watch the tour guide of one of the ferry tours feed those crocs. Hungry little buggers.

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