Nahuelito is the popular name used to refer to that ten-to-fifteen-meter-long brownish animal with one or two humps that is believed to dwell in Lake Nahuel Huapi. Science? Imagination? Fantasy?...
We do not believe in witches but if they fly, they fly. This old premise made us try once again to unravel the mystery of Nahuelito as soon as we got to San Carlos de Bariloche. Whenever we spent our vacations there, both my husband and I would take up that old hope that one day this creature would appear right before us and thus we could assert it exists.
I was the more enthusiastic of the two during our search. He was just letting himself be carried away by my illusion. Ever since I was a child, I would close my eyes and imagine silhouettes in the passing clouds and rivers of fantasy at every irrigation channel in the Córdoba mountain range. It would always be strange figures but not monsters or deformed beings.
We had found some written records about this Patagonian enigma and we thought it would be more interesting to search for oral tradition. We would listen to some local dwellers give us details of real facts that would add up adrenaline to those stories.
The immensity of Nahuel Huapi
Observe the horizon
We had found some written records
Therefore, during my outings around the downtown area and when conversation was appropriate, I kept asking whoever accompanied me about the object of my intrigue. I wanted to hear some unknown detail, omen or something that would add up some thrill to what I already knew. It seemed that nobody wished to talk about Nahuelito to avoid any nuisance or misunderstanding.
I would also consider watching the lake skyline with some close-up lens myself and try to spot it. However, the surface is so huge that it might appear in any corner all of a sudden.
We read all the stories about its quest, from the Mapuche legends to the expeditions led by Jacques Cousteau and his team of scientists. The possibility of a radioactivity leak or gas bubbles under the surface was also present.
All the theories have a certain degree of logic and another of science fiction. The truth is that there is no real record. There is still much to be unveiled!
These shores have welcomed me many times almost like a stocker, both during the day and at night. We also went on some boat tour. I would have been happy to see just some bubbling on the lake surface. But nothing!
I thought that maybe one day we would see our beloved Nahuelito like an unquestionable science fiction hero in 3D images.
In a way, I wish Nahuelito was considered as a friendly being to which Nature has offered a kind of lifestyle and survival spirit that books have not been able to explain yet. I asked myself: should we wear some 3D glasses like in the movies in order to spot it on the lake surface in the moonlight one of these nights?
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
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