There are always nice Barramundi in Bathurst Bay, and where ever there’s ‘barra there’s crocodiles. Fortunately the water where they are found is mostly so murky you couldn’t see a croc if one was in front of you. Dean Cropp speared this beauty of his recent northern safari aboard Freedom III. with brother Adam. They saw a croc this day too!
It’s even worse in Darwin Harbour where Rick Trippe ‘lives’. More than 100 large crocs are captured alive each year and shipped away to more remote places. Rick has seen a few ‘swirls in the murk’ but is yet to come face-to-face with one. So for courage in a quest for dinner table seafood, no one does it tougher than the trippe. Three meters visibility is a good day in Darwin.
**THE FEAR OF SHARKS** can be extreme to some people. A sinking trawler with a terrified skipper who prefered drowning to be eaten by sharks.
The terrified seaman wrote a note to a friend whom he owed $100, included the money with the note and put it in a corked bottle which he threw into the sea, adding there were so many sharks around his boat, ‘he was going down with the sinking vessel, rather than take his chances in the sea that night’.
**Dean Cropp** salvaged this brass port hole from the sunken remains of the prawn trawler in 25 meters, much of it mud or at least silt. As the prawn nets drag across the muddy ocean floor of North Queensland, they stir up the bottom so that about seven meters has very low visibility. Dean groped around in the murk and earned a rather nice prize, a prize which all divers would treasure.
**Was this the same trawler with the terrified skipper?** Maybe. The fear of the unknown is very real. Conquering our personal FOTU is a challenge of the sea we all must face.
The aircraft was underwater at near Cape York, a prawn trawler had snagged her remains. She was upside down. Tail missing. Wheels exposed. Visibility shocking. **Dean Cropp** groped his way around, avoiding stone fish, sharks and deadly jellyfish and live ammunition.
At great effort he removed this old Browning machine gun from the fuselage. It was donated to an aircraft museum in his loungeroom. Dean hopes to learn the complete history of this aircraft.
**Photo John H/fathom collection**