Crunchy the Crocodile - Borneo

Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Fri 27 Jul 2012 00:25
01:42.9N   110:19.6E
CRUNCHY THE CROCODILE                                                                                                                                                                                 By Peter
Peregrina was anchored up a river in Sarawak, Borneo just off the small village of Santubong.  On-board Peregrina, we are up early to see the sunrise and most mornings, on the river bank, our good friend Crunchy the crocodile was also awake. Crunchy liked to get up early to catch the morning rays. Often, he would just lay on the mud by the side of the river. Every morning, when we called out ‘good morning’ to him and clapped our hands he would open his mouth wide and leave it open.

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This Sarawak forest and river area is the home of the Iban tribe, many of whom live along the banks of the river.    There is an Iban myth about a legendary crocodile named Bujang Senang. It said that he was once a man known as Simalungun who was murdered.  Simalungan was incarnated as the giant crocodile known and feared as Bujang Senang and he terrorizes the descendants of the people who had killed him.  
Bujang Senang is from the species of Crocodylus Porosus which measures 20+ feet long 240 kilos in weight.  This is a really big Croc!
While we were in Santubong there had been a deadly crocodile attack up the river. Excerpts from local news said the following:

 'A crocodile attack here has claimed the life of local river resident barely three weeks after a similar tragedy happened.” 
'As usual, we decided to have our breakfast  near the river,' recalled Mohd Nor Bujang, 51, of the last few moments before Derahman Chali, 55, was dragged to his watery death.'

“After the meal, Derahman wanted to wash his hands in the river. All of a sudden, I had a premonition that something bad was going to happen. I advised him against it and even told him that the water was dirty, but he insisted,” said Nor.

Not long after, Nor said, he heard a loud splash and rushed to the river only to find Derahman’s hands waving frantically on the surface. 'I knew then a crocodile had gotten him but there was nothing I could do. I could only watch from the riverbank, 10m away,' said Nor as he disappeared into the murky water early yesterday.

Yesterday’s attack came on the heels of a June 20 incident where grandmother Siah Munsong was attacked and killed by a crocodile while bathing in the river near her longhouse, Sungai Anak, in Roban, Saratok.”

After we heard about the Croc attacks, we figured that Crunchy might be the legendary Bujang Senang.  So, one morning when Crunchy was sunning himself, we decided to take the dingy over for a visit and get some close up photos. We had to proceed cautiously since our dingy has sides made of rubber which can easily be punctured by a large set of incisors. Well, we got pretty close to Crunchy who, after a couple of minutes, apparently got tired of posing for our camera. With a malicious look in his eyes, he slid into the river and disappeared.

On the way back to Peregrina, we stopped to talk to some friends on another boat for about 20 minutes. We sat in our dingy and had a chat.  When we got back to Peregrina we got a call on the VHF radio from another boat asking why we had sat calmly in our dingy when there was a Croc about five meters behind us in the water!  Could Crunchy have been following, with just his eyes above the water, to watch us!

Maybe Crunchy doesn’t like having his picture taken???