WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A man kayaking the Waccamaw River over the weekend had a close encounter with an alligator.
Peter Joyce put his kayak in near the dam on Lake Waccamaw to paddle down a part of the river he’d never explored.
While paddling along the river, an alligator charged Peter Joyce’s kayak, tipping it over.
“I thought I heard a fish jump to my left—turned out not to be a fish,” said Joyce “About three feet from the kayak I made out the head of the gator and that was it, I had no time to react.”
”My mind was playing catch-up at that point,” added Joyce. “Basically, when I made out the head of the gator towards the front end of the kayak it was kind of just a state of shock. As soon as it hit the kayak and I went what just happened?”
The force of the gator overturned his kayak, but he was able to grab a tree in the water and get upright.
“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.”
After righting his kayak, the alligator is not seen again and Joyce paddles away.
This isn’t the first time that Joyce, who is an experienced paddler, has seen a gator during a trip, but it’s the first time one has ever charged at him.
It’s given him a newfound respect for the reptile’s power.
“Usually they make a splash or move and make a ruckus in the water,” said Joyce. “But this was a continuous charge from about 20 feet away. It definitely made me think a little bit differently what their capabilities are.”
Joyce believes the alligator became aggressive because it’s mating season and it could have been protecting its young.
He says he plans to paddle this part of the river again, but during a different time of the year.
The entire event was caught on camera by Joyce who said he was not injured during the incident and his kayak did not sustain any damage.