Would you take me seriously if I told you I believe in Nessie, the Loch Ness monster? Crazy thing is I actually think I do. At least the old sailor on our boat trip made it very easy to imagine such a creature existed below us in those deep and murky waters of Scotland.
A few of us from the Highland bus tour decided to spend an hour of our first evening aboard a boat in one of Scotland's most beautiful settings. This lake, or loch in Scottish Gaelic, is a natural body of water created on a fault line, its depth reaching 260 meters at points. The temperature of the water is frigid, and it's hardly transparent enough to see your hand dipped in two feet deep. We were told, "If all the water in all the lakes and rivers of Scotland was poured into an empty Loch Ness, it wouldn't be enough to fill it." Water pressure is intense when people or unmanned remote vehicles submerge. The conditions of the water have made it extremely difficult to really investigate the possibilities of massive creatures in the water, but there are some, like our boat guide, who make it their life missions to prove this animal exists.
I met a few fun individuals from the tour that shared my dreams of having Nessie recreate the quintessential Free Willy moment over our heads. We even took a picture to later be photoshopped with that effect. But soon, the boat guide brought us down below to hear his tales and be convinced, not just amused.
Multiple TV monitors displayed the activity going on below the boat. One could map out the depth and appearance of the lake bed, and another illustrated the wildlife with massive blots of color. Twenty-five years of this man's life have been dedicated to finding Nessie and her pals, as they believe there are possibly 18 "monsters" in the loch. And when he began showing photos of the TV monitors picking up 3-ton creatures, our eyes opened a little wider. When a remote-operated vehicle submerged to the lake bed, they found a skeleton of mass proportions in the shape of our Nessie assumptions. Whoa.
The biggest shock came when he showed us a photo he captured while kayaking years prior. NASA confirmed this photo hadn't been altered digitally, so he claimed. And if that's true, holy cow, there is something with a huge, scaly neck in Loch Ness.
I love running into these passionate people around the World who find one thing they would die for and spend their lives pursuing one goal. Though we Americans like to be skeptical of stories like those akin to Nessie's, it's fun getting pulled into these old mysteries by the people who bleed them.
Nessie's out there, man. Go check it out for yourself.