The Altamaha River drainage system is the largest in the United States east of the Mississippi. The river itself is formed by the confluence of the Ocmulgee and the Oconee Rivers just a few miles downstream from Lumber City, Georgia.
This river is also the home of the Altamaha-ha, Georgia’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster, an aquatic creature that purportedly lives in the marshes at the mouth of the Altamaha River near the city of Darien.
According to ExploreSouthernHistory.com,
The region where the Altamaha-ha is usually seen is a beautiful and mysterious estuary known for its vast marshes, multiple river channels and abandoned 18th and 19th century rice fields and canals. It seems appropriate that the beastie inhabits the waters around Darien, a town founded by Scot Highlanders from the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland.
The earliest sightings of “Altie,” as the creature is known, date back to the 1830s. It is described as a thirty-foot long (or longer) creature with seal-like flippers.
A few years ago, the Darien Chamber of Commerce commissioned artist Rick Spears to create a life-size model of the creature:
Spears says he had to extrapolate the creature’s appearance based on limited descriptions. “You don’t have any hard evidence like fossils, which can indicate the placement of muscles. They say it undulates up and down, but fish and reptiles move from side to side, so it’s mammalian,” he says. “And some people say it breathes steam or warm air, which suggests that it has lungs. Things like that have a basis in reality.”