Yeah, I know the nickname Nessie has been over-used, but I guess its just natural to name any unidentified monster, Nessie. Let me say that I’m sure, well almost sure, that Nessie is a turtle. Almost sure.
Nessie first appeared to me as I was practicing my fly casting out on the office lake. So I’m casting and enjoying it and then I see this stump in the lake where I’ve never seen one. I stopped casting and studied it for a minute. I thought then that maybe it was an animal but there was no movement, no ripples in the water, and the object was large for an animal’s head. I’m accustomed to seeing thumb sized turtle heads around the lake and only a few weeks ago a man and his children came by with a large turtle and put it in the lake. That turtle occupied most of a five gallon bucket, but I saw that turtle’s head and this was bigger, MUCH bigger. Its like the size of a Big Gulp cup, the one with the handle.
So I’m watching this head or stump or whatever and I decide to answer the question by getting my big 20-60x60mm spotting scope I keep in my office. I slip into the building, checking as I entered the door to make sure it was still there, and then I return with the scope…. and it’s gone.
Of course I make the mistake of telling my coworkers and then the jokes start and my integrity is questioned and/or my sanity and everybody is getting a good laugh… at my expense. Naturally that stirs me up and I’m anxious to get a photo . Of course, like all monsters, this one is camera shy and won’t show himself again no matter how much I watch.
Being the butt of their jokes only brings back the sting from a similar recent episode. About a month ago I thought I saw an alligator in the lake. There was this huge storm and it was raining and blowing and frothing up the lake pretty good and I thought I saw a gator’s head. I see gators at the Rez and have to watch for them when I wade fish, so I figure I’m kind of an expert at gator spotting. I pointed out this gator head to others and I even got a “yeah, maybe” from one of them. I got my scope on it but it was too far away and raining. Then the storm abated some and I ran out to the lakes edge with the scope and got a good look.
Well, I was right, sort of… It wasn’t a gator… but it was a Croc. Yep, put a trademark sign next to that because it was a shoe, of the Crocs brand. They float high in the water apparently.
And so time goes by and I’m out casting again one day and, there it is. Same thing happens, I slip in, get the scope, return and it’s gone, but I did take a pic with my phone (below). Well the phone is no spotting scope but at least I can show my coworkers this dark object out in the lake so they know where to look for it. And… I knew they would look for it because once you hear about a monster you just can’t not look for it…
So my pride is sinking, I have egg on my face… and then a coworker spots it. He too made the mistake of running for my spotting scope but this monster ain’t having it, he was gone when he returned with the scope. And then other coworkers began having sightings. It’s easy to look for it as it appears in exactly the same spot, mostly at mid-day.
So two days ago I spot a big catfish dead near the bank. It was like a seven lb channel cat. Next day, it’s gone.
Today I’m walking by a window and… the head is up, in the same place. I grab the scope, but from the office window I can’t tell much. I slip out to the parking lot and put the scope on the hood of my truck. Well, it’s not easy to take a pic through a spotting scope with a cell phone but I managed it.
The photo is grainy, as monster photos should be, but the view I had with the naked eyeball through the scope was much clearer. There is green moss at the top and on the left side there is a black round shape that looks like an eye. So it sorta looks like an animal but it also still looks like a stump… or potentially some other kind of monster. My coworker and I took turns watching it through the scope and as we watched… it submerged. It went under very slowly, leaving not so much as a ringlet on the smooth water.
With the photo and others sharing the experience, at least I’m not the butt of office humor anymore. This monster only appears in one spot, it’s never been spotted anywhere else and because of that, many theories have been “floated”. One is that swamp gas collects in the cavity of a submerged log and it occasionally floats it up until the gas escapes and then it sinks. My wife’s theory is that an unseen turtle is climbing on a log beneath the water and when he exits the log, with his weight suddenly gone, the end of the log surfaces. Yeah, you know I had to list that one.
Another theory is that someone has a log with a pulley and a heavy fishing line and they wait until mid-day or until I’m fishing and then they pull on it until it submerges. A hoax in other words. No one much seems to think it’s a prehistoric creature, but until it’s proven wrong, I’m leaving it out there as needing to be disproven. Otherwise where’s the fun?
This sighting comes on the heels of my meeting a man at the Mississippi River one day that showed me a photo of a giant snapping turtle that he and another individual caught on the river. He told me he showed it to a MDWFP biologist and he had estimated the thing to be over 300 years old. It had a huge head, not unlike the one in the pic.
Like UFO’s, Nessie is still unidentified. I will admit that the business office lake has roadways very close to the water and it would be very easy for someone to drop off an unwanted critter, especially an overlarge turtle. We did have an 8 foot alligator in the lake that I suspect someone put in there. It had to be trapped out as it was making the other businesses jittery.
Invasive fish like the snakehead and pacu have been caught in Mississippi and the Everglades are now full of Burmese Pythons. Who knows what some “eco-terrorist” could have put in the lake. I’ve got my fingers crossed for “turtle”, but then a manatee would be nice…