BC's Lake Monster, Ogopogo Spotted Again
There have been a number of sightings of Lake Okanagan's resident lake monster since April. A Kelowna Resident, Robyn Holman spotted a wave July 20th in the waters of the lake from Highway 97 near the town of Peachland. She managed to take a picture but is still waiting for the picture to be developed.
There have been 5 known sightings of the animal. It is a serpent which swims with humps and is supposed to be green with a large head. The First Nations people call it the "N'ha-a-itk" and the first recorded sighting by westerners is 1872.
"I don't think a year goes by where there isn't at least one or two sightings," Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd said. "It's something our community embraces as being something kind of unique and mysterious about our area and I think that's always fun."*
What is this critter that people have been spotting in the lake? -- besides a tourist draw to the area much as Nessie is to the Loch Ness area. (image to left -- image from Ogopogo Monster) The image is the 1968 picture taken by Art Folden and located on the Ogopogo Monster** site. (You'll want to go to their photo page!) The lake is deep and long and subject probably to similar sorts of wind and waves ad Loch Ness. Lake Okanagan is a lot more land locked than Loch Ness however. When they did an in depth search with radar and sophisticated video surveillance they came up with sonar phototgraphs of something swimming that was over 15 feet long. I remember the news with video coverage of "something" that they say was over 12 feet long which they said was "just a beaver"...
I figured a 12 foot long beaver would be considered something noteworthy! It made me wonder what the chances were that Ogopogo might actually be some sort of River Otter that was perhaps 12-15 foot or longer? Or perhaps some relative of the beaver. I recall from paleontology texts and books that there were giant beaver and otter 10,000 years ago at a time when men were first in North America. I don't know -- looking at the photos by Ken Chaplin from 1989 (image to left and image to right -- image from Ogopogo Monster) -- to me it looks like it could be a large river otter swimming and raising its tail straight up with its nose in the air?
What if it were over 15 feet long? What would you think if you saw something like this at night? Perhaps its fur might look greenish or even scaly when it is out of the water? What might one be capable of eating if it weren't eating fish?
I sometimes think people get a bit of tunnel vision. When people want to see certain things they can become blind to others. If Ogopogo were not some sort of serpent or pleisiosaur and instead were some giant otter or beaver; giant landlocked seal, walrus, or sea lion; or carnivorous nearly completely aquatic moose, they would not accept it and keep looking for the serpent. I do not think they'd accept a Sasquatch that turned out not to be an ape either.
* "B.C. lake monster spotted five times this year" Maria Cootauco -- Canwest News Service July 24, 2008 (Vancouver Province) -- Canada.com
** "Ogopogo Monster, Canada's Famous Lake Monster" -- Ogopogo Monster