These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

nessie in lake mac?

Jerry Vander Zaante said he won't dar enter Lake Macatawa again after what he saw Monday evening floating on the water.
Vander Zaante was walking along the lakeshore at Kollen Park shortly after 9 p.m. when he decided to stop and look across the lake and off to the right to watch the sun disappear behind the horizon.
"I leaned on the railing and turned my head to look out," said Vander Zaante, 64, shaking his head and pointing."And there is was, floatingnot 100 feet from the shore."
What Vander Zaante describes floating just above the surface of the water is a something outo f a science-fiction or horror movie.
He said he saw a mottled, gray-green animal with a long neck and a ridged back moving slowly across the water.
"I was petrified," said the retired Hawkins Autoworks supervisor, who lives in Park Township. "I couldn't move my mouth to scream or anything. Then when i could, my legs turned to rubber."
Vander Zaante said he couldn't make out the head of the animal since it was under the water, but that the animal was about 15 feet long, from what he could see.
Ope biologist Russ Andrews listened to Vander Zaante's story carefully and watched where he pointed over the lake, where waves crested and fell.
Andrews, who's studied the phenomenon of living creatures that are supposedy extinct, said there is a big likelihood that what Vander Zaante saw was most likely a large water snake.
However, he doesn't disclaim the idea of a a creature such as Nessie, the creature taht reportedly lives in the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland.
"Lake Michigan, the Great Lakes and the world's oceans hold lots of mysteries we have not yet uncovered," said Andrews, who has traveled to Loch Ness on several occasions.
"Why not a mystery here in our very own Lake Macatawa? It's certainly possible. There are snakes that can grow to proportions Mr. Vander Zaante describes. There's a possibility a large snake might have made its way into the harbor and into Lake Mac."
No others saw what Vander Zaante glimpsed. During that time, the Holland Fire Department had several of its trucks out in the parking lot working on demonstrations, attracting many kids and parents.
When Vander Zaante finally let out a cry, he said the animal slowly sunk below the surface of the water.
"It left ripples as it went down," Vande Zaante said and shivered. "I let out another cry,but no one was listening. Everyone was with the fire trucks."
HOlland POlice Chief James Krueger was skeptical about what Vander Zaante said he saw on Lake Macatawa.
The police departmetn is taking no action on the report, which was filed early Tuesday by Vander Zaante.
"I don't know what Mr. Vander Zaante saw or didn't see,but there'sn o reason for alarm," Krueger said.
The U.S. Coast Guard, likewise, said it would not place any extra manpower on the lake. It would not comment further on the issue.
Andrews is interested in Vander Zaante's story and plans to go out on the lake Wednesday evening before dusk.
"I don't know what I"ll find," he said. "Who knows, maybe a new species."
For Vander Zaate'spart, he said land is where he would stay from now on.
"I've taken many trips out into Lake Michigan and have swam out at the state park," he said. "But those days are behind me. I'm a land-lover now and there's no changing my mind."
contact roel g. at or (616) 555-5555.