While camping near Wallaman Falls (Girringun Sacred National Park), I ventured one morning to a broad smooth-surfaced rock pool, along the creek up from the big falls. I found a comfortable bench-seat in the ancient rocky bank, right by the water’s edge, where it dips away into a series of small cataracts.
After about 15 minutes, I noticed a dark pointy nose breaking the water’s surface about 60 meters (65 yards) away, slowly coming toward me. If it was a crocodile, it was a tiny one! Crocs aren’t usually up this high, anyway. It was, in fact, an old-man turtle – well, I think it was a mister!
He was very focussed on me. It seemed that I was intruding into his glorious domain, and he was intent on letting me know about this. Some platypuses were in the pool as well, but they would seldom, if ever, be as bold and inquisitive as a turtle.
After carefully examining me from his watery abode, he started clambering ashore to get a closer look and smell. He wasn’t nervous or aggressive, and wasn’t looking to eat me or get food. After a while, I started feeling that he was actually enjoying my visit, this human who had come to sit with him in his contemplative ‘royal’ domain. I felt honoured. For a good hour or so, he kept coming and going, increasingly clambering out of the water to “perch” near me. I’m sure that if I kept visiting, the budding relationship would develop further and deepen…
As I rose to leave, he dove away gracefully into the deep, dark, cool – swimming off somewhere within his watery palace, our two worlds having comingled for a brief while.
I trust that he felt as enriched by our meeting as I did, and do.