North Queensland Ethnography. Bulletin No. 14. Transport and trade
[Excerpt from p. 2–3] When about to cross any large stream, the native, if by himself, will guard against possible accident from crocodile or shark, by practising certain auguries, some of which have already been detailed. When in company, such practices are usually discarded, all his companions swimming across in more or less close formation with a good deal of splashing and shouting. Where however necessity demands that a known crocodile infested river has to be crossed, and there is no canoe, the black manages it by diving, a method which I had an opportunity of witnessing on the Lower Normanby River (Princess Charlotte Bay). Gliding silently below the surface of the water, he keeps close to the bottom; if it is too wide, he loses no time in coming up for a breath of fresh air and down again: should he come across one of these saurians, he immediately stirs up around him the dark mud on the river bed, and makes good his escape very much on the same lines as a cuttle-fish when in danger. Similar precautions are taken in this same district when black is diving for lily-seeds in any suspected pool, etc., there always being some friend of his or hers watching, either from the banks or an overhanging tree; the latter, on seeing the shadow or long streaky film of fine bubbles indicating the approach of the reptile, immediately splashes the water surface violently with some heavy stick, etc., and so gives the signal to the individual below, who quickly makes up the bank by crawling and kicking up the mud as already described. Etc.
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