Sea Monsters of Bonavista Bay

You see some strange things on this coast. 

The crash of ocean on land often brings with it a selection of creatures that would be much happier hidden in the deeps. We get giant squid, whales, bizarre fish and, from time to time, creatures that defy identification. It’s one of the last sort I bring to you today.

As a child growing up in a tiny Bonavista Bay community I remember coming home from school one late fall with a tale that disturbed me. It wasn’t a scary story per se but one, because of its unusual nature and occurrence so close to my own pillow, that kept me up at night.

My teacher related the story of two young duck hunters who were crossing a stretch of water in Bonavista Bay at the end of an afternoon of hunting. The men started home but, realizing that night was drawing too close, decided to camp overnight on one of the many tiny islands that dot the bay.

Cutting the engine, the men manoeuvred the last short distance to shore in a small rocky cove. Then they saw them. Looking down from the cliffs above were two silent creatures. They stood on two feet but were too short to be men. They had round heads, prominent ears and long grey hair that extending to their entire bodies. 

The men were, understandably, frightened.

They quickly restarted the motorboat to distance themselves from the creatures. The noise seemed to startle the mysterious watchers because they descended the cliff and slipped beneath the waves.

Out of concern for their safety, the hunters did not go ashore, deciding instead to wait for dawn on the open sea, guns in hand, should the creatures decide to board their boat. 

The men did not see them again.

Happy Adventure, NL
Happy Adventure, Bonavista Bay

That’s the story I remember from my childhood.

A little internet research brought me to the book Cryptozoology by Chad Arment which has a retelling of the story which, it turns out, was originally related to Otto Kelland by Charlie Blackwood – one of the duck hunters.

What I didn’t know as a child, mercifully, was that this was not the only reported encounter with this sort of creature.

In 1800s a local fisherman, thinking he snagged a large fish, pulled his line to the surface. Instead of being greeted by a big cod he saw a man-like creature covered with grey hair. The creature had human like hands but its fingers were webbed. The fisherman said the animal spoke a strange gibberish. He cut the fishing line and the creature sank beneath the waves, out of sight.

If you’d like to read more about Newfoundland’s strange ‘Sea Monkeys’ you can check out segments of Chad Arment’s Cryptozoology online via Google Books..


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