Look at any body of water long enough and you’re bound to see something you can’t explain. That unidentified floating object could be a log, a bird or a known aquatic creature, but a few get seen often enough that they become legends. One such cryptid is the Nahuelito of Nahuel Huapi Lake in Argentina, and it recently bumped the Loch Ness monster off the top of the lake monster charts with two sightings recorded on cell phones that caught the attention of South America’s mainstream media and has the public pondering.
“The controversy over the existence of Nahuelito was once again a topic of conversation on the networks, after being registered by a citizen of Bariloche, in the province of Río Negro.”
Carlos Paz Vivo is one of those sites reporting on the cell phone video taken by a woman who would only give her first name – Silvina. On June 1, Silvina saw “something” in Nahuel Huapi Lake, located at the foothills of the Patagonian Andes in Nahuel Huapi National Park. ‘Nahuel’ means ‘jaguar’ but what Silvina saw was no swimming big cat. (Watch it here.) The “controversy” referred to by Carlos Paz Vivo is the disagreement over what the legendary Nahuelito could be.
“"From where we are to where the object was, there are about two kilometers, so we calculated that it was the size of a large boat. It was strange because we saw it move close to Victoria Island, and then disappeared, leaving a halo like that left by fish when they jump and dive.”
Silvina told El Cordillerano she and family members were about 1.2 miles from whatever it was she recorded in the lake – an experience she claims has happened before, but never with as good of a video as she recorded of this one. While she sounds noncommittal, the indigenous Mapuche people of the area told stories of a lake creature long before the arrival of the Europeans. News of a lake monster was reported in 1897 by Dr. Clemente Onelli, director of the Buenos Aires Zoo, who heard about unusual large creatures living in a number of Patagonian lakes. The first official non-native sighting was made in 1910 by George Garret, who was in a boat near the shore when he allegedly saw a creature about 400 meters away that he claimed was between 16 and 23 feet long with a neck sticking 6.6 feet out of the water. Garret told some natives who shared the legend and in 1922 he went public with the sighting in the Toronto Globe newspaper and organized the first search for the Nahuelito.
“This Thursday (05/19) in the morning, the neighbor Fabián was traveling to Villa La Angostura , it is a trip he makes every day to go to work. He was with his cousin De he Miguel and his brother-in-law De he Víctor . He always enjoys the scenery and the beautiful natural surroundings of that stretch.”
Silvina is not the only recent witness of the Nahuelito -- Fabián Cárdenas shared a video he took with Bariloche2000 of something he saw apparently crossing the lake two weeks earlier. (Watch the video here.) Other Nahuelito witnesses include the Argentine Navy, which chased an unidentified underwater object in the lake for 18 days in 1960 without ever catching it. And in 1988, a man gave photographs to a Bariloche newspaper of something that is clearly not a log because, as he put it: ”It is not a log of whimsical shapes. It is not a wave. El Nahuelito showed his face." The photos (see one here), if real, show a lake serpent with hits mouth open and two humps sticking out of the water behind it. While there have been other sightings, no physical evidence has been obtained to prove something resembling a plesiosaur or the Loch Ness monster lives in Nahuel Huapi Lake. An interesting theory is that Nahuelito is possibly a mutation created during nuclear experiments carried out in the 1950s by German scientists or more recently by the Bariloche Atomic Center.
So, what did these witnesses see and record? Silvina says she was “amazed” and both she and Fabián Cárdenas had other witnesses to support their sightings of something they can’t explain.