"As soon as it hit the kayak I went 'What just happened?'" kayaker Peter Joyce said

By Ally Mauch
July 15, 2020 03:09 PM

A kayaker in North Carolina got more than he bargained for while exploring a section of the Waccamaw River over the weekend when an alligator charged at him.

The kayaker, Peter Joyce, was wearing a video camera at the time and was able to record the incident. The video shows the alligator quickly swimming towards him and tipping him into the water.

"I thought I heard a fish jump to my left — turned out not to be a fish," Joyce told WECT. "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," he continued. "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 I went 'What just happened?'"

An experienced kayaker, Joyce was able to grab onto a nearby tree to right his boat and eventually paddle away from the reptile.

"If it hit and there was nothing to grab on the right side of me, I would have inverted," he said. "It could’ve been a lot worse."

Joyce noted that this is not the first time he has seen a gator while paddling, but it was the closest encounter he's had.

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"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 told CNN that he wants to return to this part of the river, but will wait until wintertime when the alligators are dormant.

"I have a different appreciation of the animal," he said. "I mean once it comes after you one good time you look at it a little differently.”