|Aboard one of Black River safari boats|
Black River is the longest navigable river in Jamaica. Its name refers to the darkness of the river bed caused by thick layers of decomposing vegetation or peat. Black River has a rich ecological environment primarily composed of mangroves with long areal roots that serves as habitat to over 100 species of bird, fish and other freshwater creatures, as well as American crocodiles.
I learned in this tour that due to the large amount of methane the peat gives off, Black River experiences a lot of spontaneous combustion wherein some parts of the river would regularly just burst into fire spontaneously. In fact, when we were doing the tour, we saw a big smoke coming from a far off spot, and our tour guide said that was spontaneous combustion in action.
Now, the fun part of this tour was when we got to meet and greet the numerous resident crocs of Black River. These large aquatic reptiles are like pets to the locals particularly the tour guides. The crocs have names and are well taken care of, I could tell. While on tour, the guides would call out their names, and would feed them with raw chicken meat once they appear in the water. So that kind of explains why the crocs are not too shy in showing themselves and approaching tour boats because they actually get good treats!
George is a pretty big and fat crocodile. He was the first of the many to say "hi" and wag its spiky tail to us. He was friendly. It didn't take a lot of coaxing from our tour guides for him to come near us.
We then got to a spot where there are more than one resident crocodiles. According to our tour guides, that's kind of unusual since crocodiles are territorial animals. There, we met Tom and Jerry. Apparently, they always fight and chase each other, hence they were branded with those names. I was amazed because our tour guides were able to differentiate Tom from Jerry as how your would be able to with your own dogs! Jerry, I think, is the smaller and thinner of the two.
At one point, our tour guides yelled out different names but there was no sight of a croc nor a single scaly snout poked out of the water. Our smart tour guide then quipped, "If nobody's home, you can jump on the water for a swim." LOL. He then added, "I would love to volunteer myself but these crocs like imported meat - white meat. They will just ignore me." Haha!
Before you think of that as a good but silly joke, guess what? One of the reviews I read about this tour is that there's one group who actually went into the water for a swim. The tour guide apparently initiated jumping into the water and then about half of the tour group followed. They even have pictures while they were in the water! Isn't that nuts? Swim in a river full of crocodiles? Crazy!
Anyway, another thing I learned from our tour guide is that crocs are nocturnal hunters. They are not quite dangerous during daylight as they are at night. Our tour guide said that it's a different story at nighttime. Nobody goes near the river when it's dark. So, I guess, that explains how those tourist mustered the courage and managed to swim during the tour. But still, I don't think I'm daredevil enough to do that ☻
So, that's about it. I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you want to read more of my Jamaica trip or other travel stories, you can find them here in my blog under this label: TUESDAY TRAVEL
Until my next travel story! Ciao :)
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