What better way to start our adventure into this Cryptid Podcast then with our own local legend, the Ogopogo.
In 1872, a settler named Susan Allison detailed the first Ogopogo sighting. She was the first B.C. Pioneer to live in the region, and resided in the now established Quails Gate Winery over in West Kelowna.
The second most famous sighting is dated 1926 when the occupants of over 30 vehicles all parked along an Okanagan Mission Beach all reported witnessing the Ogopogo.
Since then, sightings have occurred more frequently and witnessed by groups of people either on boats on walking the shorelines of Okanagan Lake. All these reports detail the same thing as previous accounts. A long snake-like body moving through the surface of the water, sometimes for a period of up to 3 minutes before submerging below the surface.
Looking at Okanagan Lake, it’s fairly easy to imagine it being connected to the ocean due to its massive size. However, rest assured it is indeed a lake, there is a great possibility that this lake is connected via several dozens of tunnels to all the surrounding lakes through the entire Okanagan. This would also lead to the possibilities of massive underground and unexplored reservoirs that either a large snake-like creature or undiscovered animals may reside that have been untouched by humanity.
One famous photo, that nowhere proves or disproves the existence of the Ogopogo, is of alleged whalebone. Discovered in Okanagan Lake, and examined to be that of a whale, the bone eventually went missing. One couldn’t help but get curious if this bone found decades ago is indeed that of a whale or something more perhaps?
One of the most recent Ogopogo sightings takes place near Vernon, in October of 2020. Witnesses filmed what presumes to be a series of waves moving against the regular current, in a very weird fashion. The series of waves moved against the current for roughly 1 minute before disappearing.
The Ogopogo itself is closely tied to native myths more than any other lake monster. The Secwepemc and Syilx natives referred the Ogopogo, as the Naitaka. Naitaka would mean an evil supernatural entity with great power and ill intent. The word “n’ha-a-itk” itself has a few different meanings such as “water-demon”, “water god”, or “sacred creature of the water”. In native lore, Naitaka demanded a live sacrifice for safe crossing of the lake. For hundreds of years, First Nations would sacrifice small animals before entering the water.
Rumored to dwell in caves below Rattlesnake Island, this deep sea cryptid exists prominently in the local tourist ships and even as a big statue in Kelowna’s downtown core waterfront. A local scuba secret also reveals an underwater Ogopogo statue that’s able to be explored below the depths of Paul’s Tomb.
So next time you visit our local lake, be sure to go for a swim and keep both eyes open both on the lakes surface, and below in the depths as well.
Fun Fact – Okanagan Lake has a max depth of 232 Meters!