We recently had a rental car and one of the first things I did was to ensure that the excess on it was reduced substantially. I never used to do this. Surely I can’t possibly be that bad a driver and besides on holidays, chances are – I am extra careful with my driving. “You want to cut in? Sure, go ahead. We’re not in a hurry.” This works especially well in Italy where drivers seem hell bent on getting anywhere quick. So, for a long time, we were quite happy with this arrangement until one trip to Western Australia.
We were at Cape Range National Park, enjoying the swimming and snorkelling on one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world. Blessed by the warm Leuwinn current running Southward, this part of the world is unique (as opposed to the Great Barrier Reef), where you can virtually swim out to the coral reefs right from the beach! As it is a National Park, we were also treated to all manners of wildlife of which the most abundant are kangaroos. In Australia, this is not a rarity and even in country Victoria, occasionally, you do see them in the wild. But our experience of them were that they pretty much minded their own business and steered clear of pesky humans in their four wheelers.
BUT in Cape Range National Park, the kangaroos here are “different”. Or rather, there is a group of them that are unique. I don’t know how else to describe them. Our first encounter came completely out of the blue. As we were driving back one day, we noticed the usual kangaroos and even from a distance, they will clear out of the way into the scrub. But then we came upon one that just stared at us. Thinking that he will leap away as we drive past, I thought nothing of it until of course, we drove past. Just as we passed him, he started making tracks . . . towards us! In but a moment, he had caught up and was right beside Peter’s car window going almost as fast as us (We weren’t going that fast due to speed restrictions in the National Park). And in a split second later, he was towards the front of the car and looked like he wanted to cut in front of us! I don’t even remembered what we did next but in a flash, it smacks hard onto the side of our car and realizing that cars are not soft and furry, turns and hops off to the side and into the bush! We were left speechless. This was a first for us and Kangaroos! What’s with these guys? Fortunately, no damage was done and we put it down as a one off.
Unfortunately, that was a complete misdiagnosis of these kangaroos and two days later our rental car had to be written off.
Once again we were on our way back from snorkelling and this time, being even more careful, we decided to follow behind a big 4WD SUV. After some distance, another SUV pulled up behind us so I felt quite safe in our little Kia sandwiched in between. Surely, these Kangaroos recognise a convoy when they see one. And yes, SUV’s are not little tin cars, they will cause a lot of hurt if you decide to test their bull bars! Just as we were talking about these loony marsupials, we spotted one not far away. This one was on the move, bounding along at almost full speed in the bush about 100m to our right. Peter jokingly said that he doesn’t mind them as long as they don’t go stir crazy like the one two days ago. We took our eyes off this guy and chatted a bit more when no more than a few minutes later, there was a deafening crash just above our heads and amidst pieces of safety glass falling onto us, we see a full sized adult kangaroo roll from the roof and onto the front of our car!! Right in front of our eyes! It then slid off the hood, onto the road and hopped away all in the matter of seconds!
We were totally stunned! Pulling to the side of the road, the SUV behind us stopped as well and came out to help. Thankfully, we were all ok. Shocked but ok. They were surprised as well. They’ve never seen anything like it. Apparently, the kangaroo veered towards our convoy and jumped right in between the two SUV’s. Maybe it miscalculated or mistimed, (only God knows how these Kangaroos think), the fella landed right on top of the roof of our car. Talk about loony marsupials! This one was clearly off its rocker. What do they chew on out here? In the end, we had to get a new car and if we could, would have added roo bars onto the front, sides and the roof. Man, its dangerous out here!
So, ever since then, you can understand why we never think twice about insurance. You can be the safest driver in the world but they are just too many wackos out there and some of them don’t even drive!