Hot Okefenokee Afternoon Sun

An excerpt from my Okefenokee Journal from March, 2015:

Paddling past a submerged alligator as we row across Billy’s Lake on a hot afternoon in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 11, 2015. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

Wednesday, 3:30 PM – After our hike on Billy’s Island, we rowed back toward the Stephen C Foster State Park campground. Even though it was early spring, the sun was still high and bright. It became quite hot sitting in the open sun of the canoe. Our throats became parched as we toiled at the oars, for we had finished all of our water while hiking on Billy’s Island.

When confined to a canoe, there is no escaping the heat of the sun, especially if out on one of the lakes or open prairies so common in the Okefenokee. I made a mental note (and later added it to my packing checklist) to bring plenty of water and sunscreen on future excursions. Even though surrounded by water, we thirsted. I have read that the tanin-stained waters are a bit bitter possibly contaminated with protozoa and bacteria.

Double-crested Cormorant fishing in the cool waters of Billy’s Lake. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 11, 2015. ©

As we contineud to toil across Billy’s Lake toward “home”, the heat had sequestered most of the wildlife out of sight into the shade of the cypress trees. In the hotter afternoons, most of the alligators lay fully or partially submerged in the cool waters and the photography opportunities are fewer. However, we cruised past a few gators and a fishing Cormorant. Being insufficiently cooled only by our own sweat, we were a bit jealous as we watched the Cormorant dive and swim in the cool, refreshing waters.

Cormorant iNaturalist observation:

Alligator iNaturalist observation:

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 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."

One thought on “Hot Okefenokee Afternoon Sun

  1. Very nice William! I enjoy seeing your images of Okefenokee! We have not been there for years but since we are retired now we had hoped to get there again. But with COVID we are staying close to home. Thanks again & God Bless!


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