Okefenokee Friends

March 2020 Okefenokee Journal – Last minute packing, under-inflated trailer tires, construction on the interstate, slow drivers… just all the typical things that take place in this hectic world. We arrived in the Okefenokee later than I had desired. But once upon the waters of the swamp, all that was left behind. No cellular signal, no traffic noise, no way to even log on and work from home! Finally, our annual trip to spend some quality time with my alligator friends had arrived!

Juvenile American Alligator swimming in blackwater swamp grass near Stephen C Foster State Park boat ramp. Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 9, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally from Dreamstime.com.

This year’s trip was special. My daughter brought along a friend this time… her first trip to the swamp; her first time being face-to-face with an alligator. We pushed off from the Stephen C Foster State Park boat dock for an hour paddle around Billy’s Lake. Thankfully, the gators did not disappoint. Being around 75 degrees, there were many large alligators out of the cold water and laid out on the logs and mound to soak up the last solar rays warming their reptilian bodies.

Okefenokee Swamp Friends

We got a couple of medium-sized gators to make a splash and spectacle for Gabrielle as they dove to the water to avoid our close approach. But she said it was more eerie when they slowly slunk off their stumps, crawled toward us into the blackwaters, and disappeared under the lily pads. She feared they were coming under our canoe to dump us in!

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42155282

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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