Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 08.16.01
Quebec City


Unexplained things that swim in water

Where there's smoke there's fire. Or in this case, where there's a ripple there's a monster.

Recently, a boat operator on the St. Maurice River claimed to have run into a stationary wave -- if that's not a contradiction in terms.

Apparently, the water formed a crest across the river and then just sat there, not moving as a wave should but frothing just the same.

So far nobody has claimed it was a river monster and this surprises me.

Canadians as a whole have sighted, photographed, and generally witnessed enough so called monsters to make a pretty good case that there are things out there we don't understand.

There's Memphré in Lake Memphremagog, Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan - not to be confused with Igopogo in Lake Simcoe - Mussy in Muskrat Lake, Champ in Lake Champlain, Ponik in Lake Pohengamook and slimy Caspar in the Nith River in Ontario.

The above have all been sighted repeatedly over some hundred and fifty years.

And this doesn't include sightings in dozens of other lakes and rivers.

Take for instance the monster sighted in Thetis Lake, B.C. in 1972.

It was described as human like with a silvery, scaly body, big ears, and points on the head.

Sounds like my Aunt Mable in her bathing attire.

Or what about the fishermen in the St. Croix river in New Brunswick who back in 1902 spotted fins in the water twenty and fifty feet apart and a head with huge green eyes?

As far back as the year 1610 Canadians have been spotting aquatic anomalies.

In that year, not far from St. John's, Newfoundland, a certain Captain Whitbourne reported a creature resembling a woman swimming in his direction.

It apparently tried to climb into a boat owned by one William Hawkridge.

Hawkridge evidently didn't desire an introduction so he hit the creature or mermaid on the head and it or she swam off.

No wonder our sea and lake creatures are described as shy.

Maybe the creature was just lonely.

Two years earlier fishermen sighted a merman off the coast of Nova Scotia who fled the scene with the sailors in hot pursuit.

Personally, although I've spent many hours sitting on the shores of lakes Massawippi, Memphremagog and Okanagan, I've never seen anything resembling a monster.

Except for that one time I spent six hours in the lounge at the Hovey Manor.

And that was more a vision than a sighting.

But it doesn't mean I don't believe.

I've seen enough sturgeons, muskies, eels, dogfish, and channel cats to know there are a lot of things in Canadian lakes I don't ever want to meet close up.

And though it may have been just a natural phenomenon that caused the wave in the St. Maurice, I think I'll just add it to my list of places not to swim.