These up-close-and-personal shots of saltwater crocodiles are awesome.
Ricardo Castillo is an avid snorkeller and photographer. He spends more time than most would like with a variety of deadly creatures relying on nothing but his instincts to keep him safe. While on a recent vacation to Cuba, he planned to shoot some photos of sharks off the coast; instead he ran into a group of crocodiles.
He seized the opportunity and turned his focus away from the sharks to get these great shots of the crocodiles instead.
Crocodiles are the largest reptiles on the earth. Some can reach sizes over 20 feet in length and weigh upwards of 2,200 pounds! They also have a most powerful bite with some species capable of biting down with over 3,700 pounds of pressure.
Castillo shot all these photos in the thick mangroves of the Gardens of the Queen Marine Park, Cuba.
He fell in love with the ocean at the age of 10 when he first saw it at Acapulco Guerrero in his home county of Mexico. He has spent his life exploring it as much as he can ever since.
He used a 14mm camera lens to shoot the photos so he was literally within inches of the crocodiles for some of the shots. One even bumped his lens at one point.
“When you see the crocs and the size of them you just need to stay all the time in the front or the back of it. Never to the side because it is very easy for the croc to bite someone,” said Castillo.
“When people see the pictures the first thing they say is ‘you are crazy’ but people are frightened by the unknown. I always say that diving with sharks or crocs is not about courage or bravery, it is about knowledge and experience,” explained Castillo who has been a diving instructor and expedition leader for many years.
He says while there is always danger present when swimming with predators in the water but after a while you learn to read them. By watching their behavior he can almost predict what they are thinking and know when it’s time to leave. Castillo swam with these crocodiles for over an hour without incident.
While I don’t know if that is something I will be doing in my immediate future, Castillo’s passion rewarded him with some amazing shots of the crocodiles in their natural environment.
I only hope his luck continues to hold out while swimming with these predators and he stays safe to share more photos like these with the world.
All photos by Ricardo Castillo via Daily Mail