Travels in Crete 6: keep out the water

WE DON’T SEE many sharks in the waters off Crete but up until March this year you would not have wanted to swim in the reservoir/lake south of Rethymnon – for there lurked Sifis – a 6ft crocodile!

sifis

Sifis

No, crocodiles are not native to Crete, or Greece, or anywhere in Europe! However, Sifis first appeared in the lake some 8 months beforehand but managed to avoid capture. He was happy living off the wild-life within the lake. He was named Sifis, a ‘typical’ Cretan name [1], by his admirers who set up a Facebook dedicated to him. Tourists travelled from as far as Japan to get a sight of him (who needs Minoan archaeology!).

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In September, the Frenchman, Olivier Behra, reputed to be the world’s greatest living crocodile hunter proved he wasn’t.  He managed to grab Sifis but he escaped  (Sifis not Behra …).

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The lake – it’s not safe to go in!

Sadly, during the winter months, the cold winter defeated Sifis and he was found dead on the banks of the lake. The director of Crete’s waterworks division, Vangelis Mamagakis, said, “It’s sad, very sad. We never wanted this to happen, we wanted to move him out of the reservoir to a more suitable place but he just kept eluding us.”

krokodeilos-rethymno-s

Sifis basking in the Cretan sunshine

How on earth did Sifis get there?! It has been speculated that he may have been deposited into the lake by his owner when he just got too big. Don’t people know that little crocs become big crocs when they get older?!

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Footnote:

[1] Hmmmm … not sure how typical – I know quite a few Cretans named Yannis, Manolis, Yiorgos, Nikos – but I’ve only ever met one Sifis (and he wasn’t a crocodile).


POSTSCRIPT

Whilst on the subject of crocs, I did find this sign which made me smile:

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Then of course there is this classic sign at the entrance to a crocodile park (or is it alligator – can you tell the difference? Does it really matter ……?)

trespass eatn

But did you know that the common sign ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted’ is a falsehood. You cannot prosecute trespassers as it is not a criminal offence to trespass.

trespas

Oh no they won’t

Trespass to land is a civil action. But you knew that because you have read my book ‘Do you know your law from your elbow’. This was (still is) availble on e-kindle to download but now you can buy it in book form – click here

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Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

I have discovered another volume of Artemus’ notebooks (followers will recall Dr Artemus Smith was an archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction). Here is another extract:

I was in a bank the other day which was being robbed! The bank robber pulled out a gun and pointed it at the bank clerk and said, “Give me all the money or you’re geography!”

The puzzled bank clerk replied, “Did you mean to say ‘or you’re history?'”

The robber said, “Don’t change the subject!”

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