Still waiting to catch a peek of the elusive Mola Mola (aka Ocean Sunfish) on your diving adventures? Wanting to check off scuba diving with the Mola Mola from your bucket list? Then you must try diving in Bali!
The Mola Mola, or the Ocean Sunfish, is one of the heaviest known bony fish in the world. Adults commonly weigh between 247 and 1,000 kg and are native to temperate and tropical waters around the world. Mola Molas are pelagic and can reach depths of over 500m, so without some planning (and luck!), it’s hard to be able to see this species up close. Adult Mola Molas can grow up to 3.2m and weigh an average of about 1,000 kg. Given their large sizes, they are still safe to dive with and pose no threat to divers at all!
When is the best time to dive with the Mola Mola?
The Mola Mola species reside in Bali waters all year round. They usually live in the deep cold waters off Nusa Penida. However when the conditions are appropriate, they come up to depths of between 18m and 40m. The water temperature in Bali usually drops from about early July to early November. Hence these are the ideal months to catch sight of this strange-looking fish. Plan your diving adventure during these months, and if possible, allow for a couple of diving days to maximise your sighting of this incredible fish.
Where is the Best Place to go Scuba Diving with the Mola Mola in Bali?
Mola Molas are commonly found in Bali, making this island one of the most popular destinations for diving with this fish. The typical dive spot that we will bring you to go scuba diving with the Mola Mola is Crystal Bay, at Nusa Penida. Here at Crystal Bay, these Mola Molas often use the bay area as a cleaning station.
Marvel at the incredible sight of seeing this gigantic fish waiting patiently as it’s being cleaned the school of colourful Bannerfish. There is no other sight like this! You might also spot the Mola Molas lying on their sides at the water surface, getting some sun, before diving back down into the deep blue waters.
Of course we can never guarantee a Mola Mola sighting, as these are wild creatures. Chances of spotting one or more, however, are fairly good, especially from July to October. Fingers crossed!
Getting to the Mola Mola Dives Sites
There are two main dive sites where we regularly encounter the Mola Mola. We already mentioned Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida. To get there, we invite you onto a thrilling and scenic speedboat ride across the sea from Sanur to Nusa Penida. In Crystal Bay, famous for its crystal clear colours, we find ideal conditions to sight the Mola Mola. We can dive several times here, or visit Manta Point, or do some exciting drift diving in the channels between the Islands.
The second recommended dive site suits experienced advanced and drift divers. The name is Gili Mimpang. To get here, we take one of our air conditioned buses from Sanur to Padang Bai. Once in Padang Bai, we board a traditional small Jukung Boat (Fisherman boat) which will bring us out to Bali’s Gilis (Gili is a small island in Indonesian). Diving in Gili Mimpang can be challenging and great fun especially during full moon. Here far out from the shore, we can regularly encounter the Mola Mola in season.
Scuba Diving with the Mola Mola – What to Expect?
Quite unlike anything else you can find in the ocean, these prehistoric and strange looking fish are incredible to see. Mola Molas are rather gentle and mild tempered. They are shy and do not respond well to bubbles or lots of movement around them. If you stay still, you would be in for an unforgettable experience!
You would need to have Advanced Diver qualifications if you wish to see the Mola Molas, due to the depths that we dive to and the current conditions around the site. This is for your utmost safety and enjoyment of the day. If you do not have your Advanced Diver qualifications yet, book in for a course with us.
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