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Thu 26 Feb 2004
Marty and Ben get muddy Down Under
Category : articles
This is an email from a friend of mine Denise Goodfellow, who has native Australian roots, is a bird guide, author and trainer, amongst other things! In sending new year wishes and recounting the past year last December, she related this story. I often get muddy removing nets in our mangroves over the years, and never imagined I could ever call for help. But she did. She called the police! And guess what they did?
From: Denise Goodfellow, 15 Dec 2003
"...for those who've been made miserable by world events over the year, I hope this next story raises a laugh.
A couple of weeks ago my birdwatching class and I spotted a seine net strung across a channel deep in the Stuart Park mangroves. These nets are illegal in such areas. I also thought it possible that a bird running or flying along the channel might become entangled.
My students and I were sceptical that the police would attend, but they did, Constable Marty Tindall and Constable First Class Ben Martin. Then I wondered whether theyıd take one look at the mud and decided it wasnıt worth risking their nice uniforms.
But they followed me into the mangroves without hesitation. While Ben waited at the edge of the mangroves Marty (yes, we were on first name terms very quickly!) and I ploughed through mud, at times thigh- deep, to reach the net, taking turns to rescue each other when the going got tough and making jokes about "beyond the call of duty".
Marty attempted to destroy the net by cutting to shreds what he could reach, with his mud-covered Leatherman! However it was obvious that we needed to retrieve the whole net, and so Marty prepared to cross the rapidly filling channel. But I couldn't see how he'd do this without sinking to the waist in mud. He struggled down to the channel me following just in case he needed hauling out, but all we got for our troubles was muddier! By this time we looked as if a goodly part of us was covered in dark chocolate! I wished aloud for a camera but wouldn't have been able to hold it steady. We were laughing so much at each other's appearance we could hardly stand.
Then Ben joined us, and together we were finally able to break the branch to which the net was tied on the other side of the channel. They took the net and put it in their car, also giving me their card just in case I or other birdwatchers spot any other suspicious goings on in the area. I've commended the officers to the police commissioner and the NT Government.
May the New Year be all you wish it to be.