I WAS walking deep in the bush a kilometre or two beyond Stanley Road, following the north shore of the Bass River in difficult terrain when I turned around a small tree and stopped dead in my tracks.
There, completely still, regarding me suspiciously was the largest monitor lizard I have ever seen with my own eyes. (Or is that a goanna or lace monitor? Comments please.)
I remained still, reaching only to get my camera phone out of my pocket; the monitor remained statue-like and I nearly jumped when he blinked once. I took my time and got a lovely still portrait, followed by a short video - in which he blinks twice.
Then I had time to measure him up and gasped. The flowers in the picture give the scale, as their heads were around 1.5cm across. He was over 1.5m nose to backside, plus the tail, which must have been over a metre alone - you can see it curling away behind him. Over 2.5m in total - maybe more!
For a crazy moment I thought of moving closer and holding my arms out in a measuring action, but I "blinked first" and decided to back away slowly around the tree.
I cast one glance back from about 20 metres and he was unmoving still, then I lost him to the bush, the Bass River behind him.
I am not sure if I annoyed him in his lonely contemplation or made his day.
He certainly made mine!