Moments after ferrying a Kiwi kayaker who had been stalked by
a giant crocodile on a remote Australian island to safety,
local Don MacLeod went to the rescue of another hapless
Mr MacLeod, a long-term camp dweller near the Drysdale River
not far from the most northern tip of WA, was the saviour of
Ryan Blair, who hit headlines this week for spending a
fortnight on West Governor Island being terrorised by a
The retired nature-lover spotted a light on the island as he
sailed past on Saturday and ensured the shirtless and
desperate tourist made it safely to Kalumburu.
But minutes after he was dropped off - and media got wind of
the story - a more seasoned lone adventurer named Norm had a
frightening encounter with another big crocodile and again,
it was Mr MacLeod to the rescue.
"Just after I told the ABC lady about Ryan, a bloke pulled up
and his boat had been chewed," Mr MacLeod told AAP.
"He had a yacht, he'd pulled up that morning to get some
water and that evening, he's rowing back and one of the large
ones that hangs around here just grabbed the boat by the keel
and decided to punch holes in it.
"So we dragged it up on the bank and patched it up at my
camp, and I took him across (to his yacht) in my dinghy."
Norm, a fearless Queenslander who counts the Arctic among his
travels, had been "in every nook and cranny from here to
Broome" and had taken some great snaps of jumbo crocs along
"He's only got a little yacht. He's also got a boogyboard
sort of thing, so he sometimes tows that behind him and gets
up in the fresh water and paddles up on that further
While that sounds dangerous, Norm was "pretty cluey", Mr
He said the Kiwi had admitted he'd been foolish to get
himself in his sticky situation - unable to paddle to the
mainland because the colossal croc was always lurking nearby.
Without his saviour, he had three options: drowning, death by
crocodile or dying of thirst.
"None of them were much good were they?" Mr Macleod said.
"But you know, he's having a go, getting out there and doing
"I've done some awful silly things in front of crocodiles
myself - had a few near misses getting up and down the Ord
River, from Lake Argyle down to Lake Kununurra, all the way
down to where the saltwater starts.
"I've dived on a big one in about 20 foot of water - landed
right in the middle of his back.
"We were shooting a few big catfish.
"It was pretty funny."
About six weeks ago, Mr MacLeod also came to the aid of a
couple on holiday from running a pizza shop in Victoria's
The girlfriend, a flame-haired Ukrainian named Genya, was
bitten by a freshwater crocodile at a remote creek but it was
luckily a small one, leaving her with wounds that only
"I said to this bloke `when you're over there, don't go
swimming in these creeks because there's freshwater
crocodiles there and they don't know people - they've never
seen a human - and they are very territorial even though
they're quite small, some of them'.
"He found the creek, jumped in, swam out.
"And his girlfriend - she was a bit cagey - she sat on the
bank up to her shoulders in the water and next thing, this
croc jumped out and grabbed her by the shoulder, gave her a
bit of a shake and took off."
It was only then that her partner said he'd been warned not
to swim there, laughing.
"She sent me a Father's Day card the other day, saying she's
"But she's a tough lady.
"She walked about 30km back to the camp here and ended up
cooking me a great big meal."
Mr MacLeod - who has plenty more similar tales - says it's
not just tourists who get into trouble in the wild.
"You're side-by-side with animals.
"And you do get a bit careless."