Marty’s photo of the day #1777: It’s “CC, HP: ESC Month,” featuring photos and excerpts from my first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.
As many of you know, Deb and I were attacked by a hippo in Zimbabwe. For those who have yet to hear the story, below in an excerpt from my book with all the gory details. Enjoy! (Yes, this is one attack story that will put a smile on your face):
Deb and I were canoeing next to a low, flat riverbank when we felt a sharp bump. Perhaps we’d hit a rock. We were too close to land for it to be a—
Grrrrrraaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Something huge chomped through the middle of our canoe and thrust us into the air!
At first, I thought it was a crocodile. Then I saw a hippo’s giant mouth!
As we continued skyward, my eyes shifted to Deb, who was rising higher than I was. At peak height, the canoe rolled shoreward, dumping us like a front-end loader would. I hit the ground first, followed by Deb—who landed on her side with an eerie thud!
The hippo dropped the canoe and vanished into the river.
Fearing the worst, I scrambled to my feet, calling to my wife, “Deb, are you okay? Deb, are you—”
She jumped up and we both wheeled toward the river, ready to spring out of the way if the hippo came at us again.
“Yes, I think so,” she said while scanning the water. “I’m gonna have some bruises, but nothing feels broken. How ’bout you?”
“I twisted my back, but I’ll be fine.”
The hippo had dumped us on a shallow bed of mud. Though we looked like pigs after a good wallow, we couldn’t have landed in a better spot. Adding to our good fortune was that despite the ferociousness of the attack, it was over before we fully realized what had happened.
Once we were sure the hippo wouldn’t return, we hugged, whispered “I love you” to each other, and burst into laughter.
“We were attacked by a fucking hippo!” I chortled.
“I know,” said Deb between giggles, “and we’re just filthy!”
“I can’t believe you got up after that fall.”
“Mud is wonderful stuff!”
“A fucking hippo attacked us!”
As we stood by the river, giggling, Skip came running. “Are you guys okay? Is anyone hurt?”
“We’re gonna be a little sore,” said Deb, “but other than that we’re great!”
When Skip realized we were laughing, not crying, he grinned and said, “I saw the entire attack! The hippo lifted your canoe six feet into the air—it was soooo cool!”