'I have an understanding with crocs': TRUCKIE
AFTER many recent sightings of salt water crocodiles at one of Australia's northern outposts of Thursday Island, veteran truckie Barry Gower has his way of avoiding them.
"I have an understanding with crocs. I don't go into the water with them and they don't come onto the land where I am," he said with a laugh.
On occasion, crocs have been reported leaving the water and slithering several metres to get food from public wheelie bins which have scraps nearby.
You wouldn't have to be Einstein to agree with Barry who is based at TI which is the business capital of the Torres Strait region up the far north of Queensland.
He will celebrate his 78th birthday in September and is a common sight there in the driver's seat of an old International T-Line.
"I carry sand and metal base picked up from the quarry on nearby Horn Island and come back to TI by the barge," he said.
That barge has no motor and is pulled by a tug.
For six years Barry worked on a similar non-powered and tug-pulled barge which cruised the high seas between Horn Island and Murray, Saibai and Boigu Islands.
"It took overnight to get to Murray Island and Boigu and Saibai which are close to PNG and we carried road base on the trucks," he said.
Authorities on Thursday Island have issued warnings for residents to be wary of salt water crocodiles after a 4m long reptile was hit by a car.
That occurred in late January on the road at Sadie's Beach when a croc slithered across the route and hit the side of a car.
"This croc was about 4m long and must have been up the hill eating on a deer leg that was lying around and it was fortunate it ran into a car and not a person," a witness said.
Torres News editor Aaron Smith who was a former Tasmanian truck driver owns an aluminium dinghy and goes fishing regularly.
Aaron said there had been many croc sightings this year.
"There was a 3m croc hanging around near the boat ramp used by many people last Sunday," Aaron said.
Other sightings have been around the beach at the back suburb of Rosehill where a croc has been stalking anglers near water's edge.
Barry said there were several big crocs near the Horn Island jetty.
Crocodile warning signs are in place at many strategic locations around TI including on the jetty.