It could be an odd wave. Or it could be Okanagan Lake’s mythical monster, Ogopogo.
After capturing the undetermined sighting this past holiday weekend, Adam Schwartz believes it was the latter.
On a brief Thanksgiving getaway with family in West Kelowna, the Calgary resident recorded the unknown sighting from the shore of Okanagan Lake.
“We were just hanging out on the shore,” Schwartz said from Calgary on Tuesday. “It was a really calm day and no boats were passing by or anything.
“We were looking out at the water. Then, all of a sudden, we saw this weird formation of waves that were kind of going against the current of what was coming in.”
Schwartz said they watched the waves, which were “moving really weird,” for around 30 seconds before starting to record it for another 30 seconds or so before they disappeared.
He said he’s quite familiar with Okanagan Lake, having vacationed in the region many times while growing up, and knows “about the great myth of the Ogopogo.”
Schwartz said “I definitely think there’s something down there. I don’t know if it’s exactly what all the statues and stuff make it look like, but I’m definitely interested to see what comes about of it.”
He thinks Ogopogo is fish-like and “is really long and likes to stick down low in the lake and pops up every once in a while.”
Schwartz said this is the first time ever seeing anything like this on Okanagan Lake, and that he uploaded it earlier Tuesday to TikTok, which has garnered thousands of views.
“We’re pretty happy with our sighting and we were talking about it for the rest of the day,” said Schwartz. “Every person we’ve showed the video to is pretty interested to see it as well.”
An Okanagan resident who calls himself an ardent Ogopogo researcher was shown the video on Tuesday.
“The crazy thing is, right now, it’s a turbulent time in Okanagan Lake,” Bill Steciuk told Global News. “You have cold water coming up to the surface, creating all kinds of considerations.
“You have temperature differences, it could be a thermal wave of some type. It could also be a light reflection off the actual crests of the waves. So it could be a lot of things.”
Steciuk, though, said, “I don’t think it’s our friend … sometimes waves are just waves. I know people get pictures of them on a calm lake and (think), ‘Oh, there’s something causing it.’
“But the majority of times, there isn’t.”
Speaking of majority, Steciuk said the majority of Ogopogo sightings happen in late summer and early fall, a six-week span between the beginning of September and the middle of October.
“I’ve always said that if you want to get a picture, that’s the time,” he said. “Get out on the lake and get a camera. You’ll have your best shot.”
As to why those six weeks stand out, Steciuk said it could be that Okanagan Lake is internally turning over, but ultimately said he didn’t know why, but added “this is the time.”
There’s also been an increase this year in people sending videos of perceived Ogopogo sightings.
Asked about that, Steciuk said there are many reasons why, including spending more time outdoors, but noted that people are more prepared now to record incidents because of technology.
“I think how people feel about a species in the lake has changed,” he added. “Twenty years ago, everybody was pretty doubtful. But with the amount of species being found worldwide, every day, why couldn’t there be something in our lake?”
Steciuk said two sightings were recently reported to him, with one of them being from an avid outdoorsman from Vernon.
“This man caught sturgeon in the Fraser River, and him and his friend actually saw Ogopogo three metres away from the stern of their boat,” Steciuk said of the phone call with the unnamed man.
“This fella said that he doubted that he could put his arms around the body, it was so thick.”
Steciuk said while he only interviewed the man over the phone, he said from the call’s tone and excitement, “that this man had seen something he couldn’t believe.”
As for Schwartz, he’s hoping for a closer encounter.
“If he could swim up next to me,” he said, “that would be sweet.”