Sunday, September 9, 2012

kelowna kapers (part I)

Hello old-timers,
James Jingles here again. I’m sitting on a couch 390.5 km ('Thanks Google!') northeast of Vancouver. Kelowna, British Columbia. The couch??? It’s a comfy one, but that’s totally beside the point.  The weather outside is a little grey. Inside??? That’s also beside the point. Oh, wait a second; the sun is starting to break through!!! Ah, I can finally breathe again (gotta… stop… holding… my… breath!@#$%!!!). Anyways, why am I writing everyone today? I’m not exactly sure. It’s just one of those mornings in places far away from home when one feels like spilling his/her guts on a MacBook Pro. Don’t worry; there are plenty of wet wipes nearby. Guts are quite messy. Especially when they get between the keys…

Yesterday, um, oops, there goes that sun again!@#$%??? Composure. Check. Ok, well, yes, we are smack dab in the middle of yet another interior mission. Another hopeful attempt to lay eyes upon the elusive “Ogopogo.” For any uninitiated folk out there, Ogopogo (named N’ha-a-itk” by the local First Nations) is a lake creature (akin to the Scottish Highland’s notorious Loch Ness Monster) that roams the deepest depths of Lake Okanagan (which I’ve also heard mentioned as “OK Lake,” please correct me if I’m wrong, ok???), as deep as 232 meters in some places (once again, 'Thanks Google!!'). Each visit to Kelowna offers potential sightings and plenty of like-minded vibrations. For one, the large connector bridge between Westbank and downtown Kelowna is eerily reminiscent of a giant serpent with its rolling curves. In City Park lies an actual Ogopogo statue (the “monster” has been used as an iconic tourism and marketing ploy in the region for year, portrayed by artists as anything from a playful water pal to a dastardly demon, its evolving image emblazoned across t-shirts, mugs, towels, hot sauce bottles, and the like). Even a trip to the worthwhile Pandosy Books yields feet, if not yards, of tasty literature on the subject.

Any which way, it was a quick afternoon dip on Friday, September 7, that offered another twist in our journey. Well, you could call it that if you wanted. My partner Smashley Smash and I found a nice lakeside respite to enjoy the scenic Okanagan view, take in some sun (ah, that sun!!!), go for a swim, and skip a flat rock or two. After overcoming a touch of nerves (the long drive??? Slurpee for lunch???), we decided to test the water. On went the bathing suits and aqua socks and we were finally ready to take the plunge. Unfortunately, the lake felt a little cooler than usual and I had a hard time getting in. Smashley wasn’t so timid and performed a world-class shallow dive. As I inched my way into the lake (still a little cold for my liking, yes, I am a BIG old wimp), I spotted an unusual snake-like stick to my left, yes, my left, and sticking right out of the water 10 feet or so away. An omen??? Nevertheless, its crooked shape and black, water logged form, sent a chilly chill up my spineless spine despite the blistering heat of the bold sun. Also visible in the water were countless little minnows who surrounded me with intimidating presence for such small critters. Something wasn’t right. As I illogically progressed into the lake, the rocks beneath my feet began to get very slippery with a slimy green substance. Finally gaining some much needed gusto (and wanting to catch up with Smash who appeared to be having a blast amidst my freaky freak out), I took a headfirst plunge into the cool blue. While it was refreshing for a second, after a few breast strokes, the ground below disappeared completely and an overriding fear kicked in. We both became panicked and nearly paralyzed in the water. Something was there…

Tune in next week for the following installment of Kelowna Kapers (presented by Voluntary In Nature)

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