A Division of the Tidal Communications.

  What's New
  Success Stories
  Photo Gallery
  Angler's Report
  Shop eBerg
  Book Reviews
  Movie Reviews
  Open Forums
  Suggested Links

  Submit A Link

  The eKubator


Kittiwake Economic Development Corporation

The eKubator Project

Where Monsters Swim
July 13, 2001
{Author: Reg Wright}

  When European adventurers voyaged east across the ocean five hundred years ago. They had a number of concerns, among them, ensuring they had sufficient food supplies, not falling off the world’s flat edge, and yes, sea monsters.

  You can forgive their apprehension. For the ocean playground off the Kittiwake Coast is a haven for sea “monsters”. Perched on the tip of the northeast Atlantic, where the sweeping northern Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream intermarry, the Kittiwake Coast is a gathering point for a wide breadth of sea oddities; all the better for the visitor with a keen eye turned to the ocean.

  From May to August, the Kittiwake Coast draws an oceanic conference, with 22 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises counted among the delegates. Over 5,000 humpback whales - a Newfoundland cultural icon - visit the coast every year. Those who have witnessed a breaching humpback know how it feels to be belittled. When 35 tonnes of seafaring juggernaut lift out of the water and send a plume of saltwater skyward, its back craggy with barnacles, its skin gleaming like polished gypsum, and its fin waving an awkward hello, your place in the foodchain, right next to plankton, seems reaffirmed.

  Whilst the eternal snaking sprawl of coastline is magnetic to visitors, the whales gather for other reasons. Large concentrations of krill, capelin, herring and mackarel make the Kittiwake Coast an aquatic buffet for monsters of the deep.

  The wide range of whales - sperm, minke, fin and others - don’t have a monopoly on photo opportunities. Many seakayakers in the province have had encounters with Newfoundland’s basking shark, a sleek, enormous beast who ranks second only to the Great White in size. Let us preface these remarks by saying the basking shark is as docile filter feeder. While to be respected, it presents the same danger as accidentally vacuuming your leg. There has never been a report of a basking shark attack in Newfoundland - it’s the Mr. Rogers of the shark family.

  And believe us, there are other strange things is this monster mixmash. In recent years, for reasons unbeknownst to most scientists, the Sunfish have joined the fray. The open ocean sunfish reaches three metres and hundreds of kilograms in weight. It’s also one of the oddest-looking beasts - with a Wizard of Oz-like head and apparently no body to speak of. They usually loll about the Carribean eating jellyfish, but in recent years have been spotted off the Kittiwake Coast, including around the shores of Greenspond.

  Local fishermen have also been surprised by five-foot sturgeons, primitive fish that bear a small resembles to dinosaurs.

  More and more, the Killer Whale, has been announcing its presence off the Kittiwake Coast. A couple of years ago, a pod of Orcas took up temporary residence off Twillingate. Locals reported that the pod of killer whales drove a humpack whale up to the rocks of the lighthouse and killed it.

  The Kittiwake Coast is a refuge for a number of rare and endangered species including harbour porpoises, blue whales, right whales, sei whales, beluga and beaked whales.

  The rarest monster of them all is the giant squid. The world’s largest invertebrate is known to grapple with whales and is tremendously reclusive, with only a couple of dozen sightings reported over the last two centuries. The giant squid is to the ocean what the Yeti is to China - often spoke of, but seldom seen.
Remember to take out any garbage you bring in.