Articles By Our Members
"Dowsy" the Dow's Lake Monster
by Brian Clarke, August 2005
The organizing committee for the 2005 Ottawa Flotilla asked the Rideau
Nautical Modellers to make a sea-serpent, similar to the Loch Ness Monster,
surface at several locations around Dow's lake.
This could be accomplished by building four serpents or "Dowsys", and
having them surface and dive sequentially at different locations, at five
minute intervals. It was decided to keep things simple by sequentially
pumping air from four small air compressors on shore, through quarter-inch
vinyl tubes into the buckets of submerged Dowsys (see drawing below). The
vinyl air tubes were kept submerged by weights placed along their lengths.
After each Dowsy surfaced, its compressor was turned off with a timer and
air slowly leaked from small holes in the bucket until the Dowsy sank,
finally lying flat on the lake bottom out of the way of boat propellers.
The weight keeps the entire unit vertical.
Each Dowsy was made from 6 inch diameter aluminum semi-flexible vent
tube, strengthened with fiberglass. The head was hand-made from fiberglass
over a styrofoam form. Each Dowsy was 6 feet long with an 18 inch fiberglass
tail. A metal tube inside the Dowsy body strengthened the assembly.
The photo below shows initial testing. Note the air tube from shore to
The following photo shows painting of the final four Dowsys.
The working Dowsy on Dows Lake: