VIDEO: Gympie Kayaker says Mary River crocodile followed him
A FRIGHTENED kayaker says he'll "never go in the Mary River again” after he spotted what he thinks was a crocodile lurking behind him near the Gympie Weir yesterday afternoon.
Gold Coast native Geoffrey Bell - who regularly travels to the Gympie region for work - decided to head out for a paddle around 1pm from the river's entrance at the Weir near Kidd Bridge, but soon returned to the bank in a panic.
What he saw was enough to convince him he won't be going back in the water.
"I went up around the bend, and the fish were jumping out of the water and coming up in front of me,” Mr Bell said.
"I heard this strange noise behind me like a wash, and I looked back and it was nothing, so I turned around and drifted back down and came back up past a log a bit further up.
"I was drifting in and I saw this thing pop up and it disappeared, I looked back and it wasn't there so I quickly came back in.
"It looked like the nose of a crocodile, I saw it pop back up and back down again. I'm too scared to go back in there anyway.”
Mr Bell said he initially thought he was scaring the "good sized fish” and causing them to jump out of the water, but the unsettling sound behind him made him think twice.
He said he had only taken up kayaking about three weeks ago and yesterday's paddle would be his first and only time in the Mary River.
"I thought it was a stick at first or a log, but it moved quickly, it just disappeared. I'm never coming back down again,” he said.
"I heard the noise and I thought something was coming to get me. I'm going to have a walk and see if I can get a photo of him.”
Mr Bell said he had reported his sighting to the Department of Environment and Science "CrocWatch” and would ask for signage to be installed at the river following previous sightings in similar places.
Though Queensland's "croc country” cuts off north of the Boyne River at Gladstone, multiple croc sightings have been claimed and reported in Gympie and further Wide Bay waters in previous years.
The most recent Gympie region sighting recorded on CrocWatch came last month at Snapper Creek in Tin Can Bay.
In December 2017, Scott Barton and his stepson Harley Clarke claimed they saw a 2.5m crocodile swimming in the river about 100 metres upstream from the Gympie Weir.
The DES is preparing a statement in response to the latest sighting.
Approximately 13 croc sightings have been reported in Gympie region waters since 2010.