Winfried Wisniewski / dpa via AP Images, file
A saltwater crocodile similar to this one held a New Zealand tourist hostage on a small Australian island.
A kayaker from New Zealand was rescued from an island off the Australian coast Tuesday after being stalked by a “very, very, very large” crocodile for more than two weeks.
Ryan Blair became trapped on remote Governor Island in Western Australia after he had been dropped off by a boat to explore the area in his kayak, according to Australia’s ABC News.
When Blair realized that his supplies of food and water were insufficient, he tried to paddle nearly three miles back to the mainland — but immediately caught the eye of the 20-foot saltwater crocodile.
Each time he tried to paddle away from the island, the creature would make its presence felt, leaving the adventurer stranded for more than two weeks.
“He was about four meters away from me, and I thought, ‘This is it,’” the 37-year-old told Australia’s 9news. "It was so close, and if this croc wanted to take me it would not have been an issue.I was scared for my life. I was hard-core praying for God to save me."
Blair tried to attract passing aircraft and boats by flashing a mirror and lighting a small fire. His efforts were unsuccessful until he was eventually spotted by boatman Don MacLeod from the small nearby town of Kalumburu.
MacLeod said the crocodile was "very, very, very large," one of the biggest he’d seen in the area.
“One day he just happened to surface alongside me as I was going past and my boat's 20 foot long so he was well up towards the 20-foot mark," he told Australian broadcaster ABC. “I've seen him several times actually going by quite fast."
MacLeod added that the unfortunate explorer was recovering after his rescue, although he said he gave Blair a cold beer to get over his ordeal, "which was probably the wrong thing to do" because he promptly fell asleep.
“He is a very lucky man,” MacLeod said.
First published September 3 2013, 8:22 AM