COMPANY AT CAMP CORNELIA-Part I
author: George Harold Fulks/January 8, 2010
(Many encounters with Okefenokee Swamp creatures are recalled when I lived at Camp Cornelia from November 1950 until June 1958. It is a pleasure to
share some of those memories with readers.)
Swimming In The Swanee Canal
Nearly fourteen miles in length and averaging twenty yards in width, part of the
Swanee Canal ran some one-hundred yards South of our log cabin home at Camp Cornelia. Three older
high school boys had prepared a place there for learning to swim, dive, and for cooling off
during sweltering summer days.
Preparation of our swimming hole required that those workers be courageous. It was necessary those boys clear from a large area all aquatic plants, silt, and other debris from a sizable area on each side of that canal After that work was completed the area was as "clean as a whistle".
Cotton-mouthed moccasins lived in and near our swimming hole. The high school boys had
lessened danger to us by their cleaning of the area, but those three completed high
school and entered colleges and military. They were no longer there to keep our swimming hole clean. We younger boys lacked courage for keeping the area clean, and it again grew-up in weeds, brush, and aquatic plants.
Two friends and I were swimming there in the Swanee Canal during one summer, and that ended our use of the swimming hole. As we looked down into the clear water, we noticed
that dozens of tiny cotton-mouthed moccasins were swimming in circles around our legs.
They were agitated. We swimmers came out of the water immediately asking: "where's the Mother
of those snake babies"?
Several of us learned to swim and dive there at the old swimming hole on the Swanee
Canal. So far as is known, we're all still alive although one of us was bitten by a two-feet long cotton-mouth while in that area. This writer stepped right on top of a
cottonmouth that was five feet in length but was not bitten. As a consequence though,
we stopped using the canal as a place to swim.
End Part I