A useful tip

Dingos in Australia have been in the news as potentially dangerous animals for some years now. Not, I believe, because they are wild, but because they have become habituated to humans, mainly tourist who feed them. There have been attacks on small children and it is never a good idea to let them wander around camping grounds when dingos are present.

Some years ago, our small yacht dragged its anchor in Great Sandy Strait while we slept. It then drifted ashore on the inside of Fraser Island, balanced for a while on its keel in the mud, then crashed down on to its side. It was 3am, the boat wouldn’t float again till the next high tide; we couldn’t stay in it, so Julie and our poodle made up a bed in the dinghy. With nowhere to sleep (or sit) I set off in the pale moonlight to walk on the muddy ‘beach’ until dawn.

After a while I realised I was being followed … there were three dingos padding along behind me. “Shoo”, I said, waving my arms, and they just looked at me in curiosity. Why should I worry, I thought, and continued walking. After a while I turned to check on them again; now there were five and they had closed the gap between us to 20 metres. I shouted at them again and waved my arms, but they didn’t move.

So, with great presence of mind, I ran straight at them, bellowing and waving my arms. Now this is where it becomes embarrassing, where my scheme went “a-gley”.  Running at top speed, the slippery mud my feet beguiled, and I sat down heavily on my backside. But here, a friendly providence intervened.

As I slid on my bottom at speed through the mud, yelling and waving, the astonished dingos looked at this incredible apparition hurtling towards them, turned tail and ran for their lives.

This was a valuable experience which I pass on to all those who might be pursued by a pack of dingos in the hours before dawn. Now you know what to do. Good luck with it.

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