by Sterling Haynes
Beware of Lake Okanagans
sea serpent. This British Columbia native serpent
is a different beastie than that described in the
1924 English music hall song Ogopogo:
His mother was an
His father was a whale,
A little bit of head
And hardly any tail*
The Snake of the Lake, is
known to the Okanagan Indians as Nha-a-itk.
Centuries ago small animals and even fawns and a
few babies were thrown in the water around caves
off Rattlesnake Island.
Early white settlers placed
guards around the lake to protect Canadian
citizens from Ogopogo during blue moons. In the
great depression new ferries were equipped with
harpoons and pikes to prevent Ogopogo from
boarding vessels and swallowing the crew and
Ogopogo is green, has the
head of a horse and a prehensile jaw. In beasts
25 meters long the lower jaw becomes unhinged
allowing this animal to swallow their prey whole.
When moving, Ogos undulating humps break
the surface and can be seen by those with
summer lake regattas, over 75 years ago, certain
people saw this creature. They have banded
together and have formed the Ogopogo
Serendipity Society [O.S.S]. Today,
some city fathers are reputedly said to be secret
members of the O.S.S.
There has been meticulous
research done on Ogopogo. Sonar echoes show
shadowy serpents and pick up hydrophonic babbles.
There is a Wanted Dead or Alive Contest
sponsored by the Penticton Rotary Club and the
Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. The reward is
two million Canadian dollars for the capture
dead or alive of Ogopogo. The
successful candidates would be elected members of
the B.C. Cryptozoology Club [B.C.C.C.]. Rotarians
would strike gold medals for the occasion
Order of Ogopogo labeled O.O .
Consumerism would put this valley on the map.
Years ago the City of
Kelowna constructed a float for the use in
parades throughout the province. Unfortunately,
Ogo was painted pink with purple polka dots. He
looked very gay and the media labeled him Homopogo.
City fathers and the Mayor had the float
repainted green before any harm was done.
When I hike along Lake
Okangans shore I visit many wineries and
visit my God Bacchus in the late afternoon. In my
reverie I may see an undulating green shape
could it be a dream, a fantasy, a vision
of Ogopogo? Today, Ill try another glass of
the Pinot More and then ask myself
could the father of Ogopogo really
been a whale?
[* The serpent of Lake Okanagan was named by the
Vancouver Province newspaper of August 24th,
1926, page 7, after the English music hall song