A kayaker exploring a section of a North Carolina river found more than he expected when an alligator slammed into his boat.
Pete Joyce was paddling in a swampy section of the Waccamaw River on Sunday when the alligator charged at him. The impact tipped him over into the water, but he was able to grab onto some tree branches to avoid the boat being turned upside down.
Joyce, an experienced kayaker, was wearing a video camera on his chest, which caught the whole encounter.
“If it hit and there was nothing to grab on the right side of me, I would have inverted,” said Joyce. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”
Joyce, who’s a firefighter and paramedic, didn’t see the alligator after the collision, but could feel it brush against the bottom of his boat as it swam by. After settling himself, Joyce is seen hitting the side of his kayak three times, hoping to frighten the alligator away.
After taking some deep breaths, Joyce grabbed his paddle and got out of the area as quickly as he could.
Alicia Davis, an alligator biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said the alligator was probably scared too and took off in the other direction. “It could have been a female that was trying to intimidate him, maybe a little bit, because they are a little bit aggressive around their nests,” she said.