The legend of Ogopogo or Naitaka as the First Nations people call it has been around for centuries. The First Nations people used to sacrifice a chicken to the lake spirit to ensure a safe crossing of Lake Okanagan. As Europeans began to settle along the banks of the lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada they heard the story of the lake monster.
Lake Okanagan is a large, 135 km long body of water that is between 4 and 5 km wide. The lake is deep, in some places 840 feet deep with an average depth of 249 feet. The lake is bordered by the communities of Penticton, Summerland, Peachland, and Kelowna in British Columbia. The Okanagan Valley is a naturally beautiful area with hot summers that help create the abundant harvests in the orchards and wineries of the area.
Canada’s Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is also known as Nessie and is assumed to be a “she” while the Lake Okanagan Monster is also known as Ogopogo and is assumed to be a “he.”
Ogopogo has been described a snake-like creature that is either green, gray, black, or brown in colour with either a horse-like, goat-like, or reptilian head. The Ogopogo’s body is said to be 25 m or 75 feet long, with humps that emerge from the water.
Ogopogo reportedly lives in the waters near Squally Point and Rattlesnake Island by the community of Peachland. Although sightings have been reported in other areas of Lake Okanagan.
The City of Kelowna, BC has a statue of Ogopogo in the City Park. This version is green, spiked, and has a dragon head.
A cryptozoologist named John Kirk, of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, claims that the videos and films of Ogopogo that he has viewed are more numerous and of better quality than any made of the Loch Ness Monster. I am not sure this is saying much as all videos seem to be shakey and out of focus. Maybe Mr. Kirk feels competitive towards poor Nessie.
What Else Could Ogopogo Be?
Maybe Ogopogo is a manatee, or a large Sturgeon, an Oarfish, or perhaps he is actually a prehistoric whale called the Zeuglodon?
It is important to point out that logging is a large industry along Lake Okanagan and there are thousands of felled logs floating in the lake. The geography of the lakeshore and lake bottom is unusual and it causes strange wave patterns that together with the floating logs could explain away some of the Ogopogo sightings.
I do not know if I believe in the existence of Ogopogo but I am certainly open to the idea that this world may contain creatures that we have yet to capture and study. I find it more than a coincidence that both Lake Okanagan and Loch Ness are long, narrow, deep lakes and therefore cannot help but wonder if the geography of the lakes has caused strange waves that appear to be something alive. That could be the definitive answer to the Nessie and Ogopogo mysteries.
The Other Half