Monster Hunt: My Search for the Ogopogo Lake Monster

COVID-19 social distancing walk and I’m out and about in the great city of Kelowna, British Columbia (BC). Whilst living up on Big White, a trip down to Kelowna would not be complete without taking the time to search for the legendary Ogopogo who reputedly resides in Okanagan Lake.

Lake Okanagan is about 400 kms east of Vancouver. The lake is 135 kms long and between 4 kms and 5 kms wide, with an average depth of 249 ft. Up to 800 ft deep in some places, ample space for a large creature.  

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I’ve long been fascinated by cryptozoology … intrigued with folkloric creatures with the likes of Loch Ness, Sasquatch, Chupacabra, Abominable Snowman, Kraken, Sea Serpents, The Mothman, Thunderbirds and Jersey Devil, just to name a few.  And since I’m here, I definitely could not pass up the opportunity to search out Ogopogo.  A few years ago I visited Toutes Aides, Manitoba (while I lived in Manitoba) in search of Manipogo (check out that blog here).


It’s not really a monster, it’s a spirit of the lake and it protects this valley from one end to the other,~ Pat Raphael of the Westbank First Nation


What is Ogopogo?

Claimed to be a distant cousin of the Loch Ness Monster and is said to reside in Lake Okanagan, near Kelowna, BC.  Ogopogo is to Kelowna what Nessie is to Loch Ness: a yet-to-be-identified cryptid that reputedly resides in the lake’s depths and surfaces just often enough to keep the legend alive.

Per the Kelowna Tourism BoardStories date back thousands of years where the Interior Salish First Nation people spoke of N’ha-a-itk, the spirit of the lake. Stories of N’ha-a-itk changed over the years as European settlers transformed the stories they heard into a creature, which later became known as Ogopogo, and the purported sightings over the years continue to strengthen the legend.”

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(Taken at the top of Knox Mountain)

What am I searching for?

Descriptions vary, but certain characteristics have been repeated through the decades: Ogopogo is green with a snakelike body about 25 meters long. Some say its head looks like a horse, while others say that it’s reptilian or goat-like.

What are eyewitnesses seeing?

  • Dark and multi-humped, with green, black, brown or gray skin.
  • The head is said to look like that of a snake, sheep, horse, seal or even an alligator.
  • Some eyewitnesses say it has ears or horns; others don’t.
  • 15 to 25 meters long.
  • Many sightings simply describe a featureless log that came alive.

Oddly enough, quite the similar description to when I posted about Manipogo!

Not to be confused with:

  • A giant sturgeon
  • An aquatic serpent
  • A wave
  • A floating log
  • A river otter
  • A beaver

It was 17° and partially sunny in Kelowna a couple of days ago when I was out and about, the weather was perfect!  To scope out Ogopogo, I decided to take a walk down by Kelowna City Park and the Waterfront Boardwalk. The park/waterfront/marina area is a beautiful location to go for a walk and enjoy the scenery of Lake Okanagan.  I loved breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the moments.  People were out today and maintaining/respecting the social distancing measures of COVID-19. I also searched out Oggy while taking a hike up on Knox Mountain.

Around town, Oggy takes the form of a cartoonish 15-foot-long green and cream coloured statue placed along Kelowna’s waterfront walk.  I also spotted another Oggy down at the Parkinson Recreation Centre at the kids water park (not open due to coronavirus).

I’m not going to get into all of the reported “sightings” in this blog.  You can easily search online and find all that you’re looking for there with one click.  My blog is to capture MY experience around Lake Okanagan, on searching out Oggy, and to capture the beautiful sights.

Here are a few shots of my walk about around Lake Okanagan down by the marina and Kelowna City Park.

I had about as much luck finding Ogopogo as I did Manipogo.  None.

That aside, Kelowna and the lakefront itself are absolutely stunning and 100% worth the visit.


If the Okanagan is on your places to visit list … make sure to keep your camera/phone ready, your eyes peeled, and your minds open …. you may be the one to spot Ogopogo!

Happy searching!


Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack – Season 2 Episode 17 – Full Episode

This episode includes: Thanks Captain Sharp, Harold and Ma, Over the Edge & UD and Ogo Pogo.

(Fast forward episode to 38:38)
 

Monster Hunt: My Search for the Manipogo Monster

A pseudoscience. The study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence

I’ve always been intrigued with folkloric creatures like Loch Ness, Sasquatch, Chupacabra, Abominable Snowman, Kraken, Sea Serpents, The Mothman, Thunderbirds and Jersey Devil, just to name a few.

Today I am an acting cryptozoologist!  I’ve watched show, after documentary, after movie on these interestingly mythical creatures.  It’s safe to say that I have more than a passing interest in these folkloric, mystical, unusual and surreal beings.

We live in an ideal location, nestled between the Riding Mountains and the Duck Mountains.  We are also surrounded by plenty of lakes, most notably Lakes Manitoba, Winnipeg and Winnipegosis.

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Loch Ness isn’t the only lake with a reputation for a Monster. In North America many large, deep, cold water lakes have stories about sea monsters. These lakes were formed over ten thousand years ago, during the last ice age.

In Canadian folklore, Manipogo is the lake monster said to live in Lake Manitoba.

Today, in search of this elusive sea creature I decided to head out to Manipogo Provincial Park (aptly named after the sea creature).

Lake Manitoba is Canada’s thirteenth largest lake at 4,624 km2 and the world’s 33rd largest freshwater lake. There is also a Lake Winnipegosis sea monster called Winnepogo, though thought to be the same creature as the lakes are connected. Manipogo is said to travel through inner-channel rivers between lakes Winnipeg, Winnipegosis and Manitoba.

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One of the most well-known sightings of Manipogo dates back to August of 1962.  Two sport fishermen: Dick Vincent of KCND Television (now Global) and his television colleague, John Konefell, spotted a serpent-like creature about 300 metres from their boat. It was around 4:00 P.M. when the two men began heading back to their camp, suddenly they came along a thin animal, its body bobbing up and down as it advanced. Vincent grabbed his camera and took three pictures of it.  They watched for about 5 minutes before the creature dove back down below the surface. They were able to take a blurred photograph (photo above). In subsequent years, Vincent denied that he saw Manipogo, and claimed to have just seen “something in the lake”.

Since the late 1800s, people have claimed to see the creature, but no conclusive evidence of the monster’s existence has ever been found.  The local native population has legends of serpent-like creatures in Lake Manitoba dating back hundreds of years.

Today I explore the lake, maybe I can finally prove the legend of Manipogo, Lake Manitoba’s serpentine sea monster!  *I don’t actually expect to see a creature*


Departure

And I’m off, on my way to Manipogo Provincial Park in Toutes Aides, Manitoba – distance 101 kms, 1h 10 mins away.

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I’ve arrived!  Let the monster searching begin … I’m coming for you Mani!

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The Stats:

� Classification: Lake Monster
� Size: Reports indicate between 12 – 50 feet in length
� Weight: Unknown
� Diet: Unknown
� Location: Lake Manitoba, however similar reports have come from near by lakes
� Movement: Swimming
� Environment: Glacier Lake

General Description:

According to research we’re looking for a creature that fits this general description (I’ve culminated descriptions of the documented sightings):

  • Muddy coloured creature that has many humpsScreen Shot 2017-06-08 at 12.53.58 AM
  • Has a sheep-like head
  • Anywhere from 12 feet to 50 feet long
  • On its head has a single horn, its head is small and flat – looks very much like a dinosaur.
  • Giant serpent-like creature; large creature like a serpent or giant snake; reptile-like beast

Not To Be confused With:

  • A floating log
  • A large surgeon
  • A wave
  • Boat wake
  • A river otter
  • A beaver

The Search

Since the majority of Manipogo sightings happen around Toutes Aides, the Manitoba government decided to aptly name the area’s provincial park after the mythical beast.  The park sits on the far north-western shore of Lake Manitoba, close to where the lake almost meets Lake Winnipegosis.  I explored the lake, in the hopes that I may have been able to confirm the legend of Manipogo. 

It was an absolutely beauty of a day out, sunny, 27°, a little bit of a breeze.  My search didn’t include on water searches,  we searched from ashore and waded into up to about just over my knees.

The beach wasn’t overly packed for a Canada Day long weekend.  There were families playing in the public beach area at the East bay area.  Since we had my dog Ellie with us, we set up at the dog beach area, on the north bay area of the lake.

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Photos: Taken of the Northwest shore of Lake Manitoba

Conclusion

We stayed for about 3.5 hours.  Unfortunately we had no such luck on our search for Manipogo today, perhaps next time?  In all honesty, I had no expectation of running into Mani but it was a fun day nonetheless.  For now the only sighting I’m going to see is of this artist rendering …

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Sketch by Louis Bretecher, who saw the creature in the 50’s when he was about 18.

Although there are believers who have no doubt in their minds that something lives in the depths of Lake Manitoba. Skeptics like to remind us that these lakes are known for large sturgeon which can grow up to 2.5 metres, weigh over 140 kg and can live for over 150 years (average life span is 50 to 80 years).

I’d love to travel to Scotland to Loch Ness, since I had no luck with Mani, maybe I’d have some with Nessie OR maybe Ogopogo?!?!?