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The Search for Ogopogo

Dirk Vander Ploeg's picture
The Search for Ogopogo


Located at 49 degrees 50 minutes N latitude, 119 degrees 32 minutes w longitude, Okanagan Lake is in the interior of southern British Columbia, Canada. It is approximately 120 kilometres long; 3.5 kilometres wide and is 235 metres at its deepest point.

 

Okanagan Lake has had a long and complicated geological development. Some of the factors influencing its origin include tertiary volcanic and sedimentary activity, fault rupturing, regional tectonic forces, stream dissection and deep erosion from repeated glaciations. These glaciers and interglacial streams were the main agents for the deepening and gouging of the original valley. Because of these actions, Okanagan Lake has been referred to as a fiord lake, which may have been open to the sea at one time and many of these streams may have been interconnected. It is against this backdrop of scientific fact that the legend of Ogopogo has come to exist.

For hundreds of years, the Ogopogo story has been one that has been shrouded in mystery. Eye-witness reports tell of an unusual animal surfacing, submerging and swimming swiftly through the waters of Lake Okanagan. The First Nations people feared and revered this sacred creature, which they called N'ha-a-itk, and the early settlers, hearing these stories felt it necessary to patrol the shores of Lake Okanagan to protect their families.

 


Ogopogo: The True Story of the Okanagan...

Ogopogo has been described as being between 6 to 20 metres in length, black to tan in colour with a characteristic snake-like body and has been seen with or without appendages. There have been sightings both in and out of the water. Even with all of these sightings over the years, much of the hard evidence such as photos, videos, film footage, etc. has been less than conclusive, yet the credibility of eye witnesses suggests that Lake Okanagan is home to an unknown aquatic animal!

 

In August of 2000, Daryl Ellis swam the length of Lake Okanagan to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. On 2 separate occasions Daryl had encounters with the creature of the lake. At one point Ogopogo broke the surface no more than 6 metres from him! Susan Neill (local wildlife artist) was able to do an accurate artist rendering of this encounter.

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