The ocean sunfish is a very large and very strange creature. In Newfoundland your best chances of seeing one are at the very end of summer when the water is warm enough to accommodate them (that’s right now!).

Think of the sunfish as a big marine alien: it’s got a peculiar face with puffy cheeks and pouty lips, an enormous bony body shaped like a disc, and believe it or not it can grow up to an impressive 4 metres from fin to fin:

Large sunfish, long ago - Wikimedia Commons

Large sunfish, long ago – Wikimedia Commons

Ocean sunfish - Wikimedia Commons

Ocean sunfish – Wikimedia Commons

Add to that the fact that it likes to bask at the surface in the warm sunlight, and you’ll understand that a sunfish encounter is something very special indeed.

For the longest time the sunfish occupied the top spot of my ‘wildlife wish list’, I had already seen most kinds of whales and seabirds, so every time I was out on the East Coast Trail or on the water I was looking for something new.

Thankfully, Molly Bawn had a proven track record of finding sunfish, and in late August 2013 they helped me find what I was looking for:

Ocean Sunfish - Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Ocean Sunfish – Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Ocean sunfish - Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

Ocean sunfish – Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

If you want an encounter with a sunfish too, I suggest you give them a call to find out when their next tour is, they’ve had several good sunfish encounters already just this last week!