The absolutely unmistakable mola mola
Mola Mola or Ocean Sunfish, is one of the reasons why diving in Bali is so attractive. It is the heaviest known bony fish in the world weighing up to impressive 1000kg. It can be found in many tropical oceans all around the globe. Molas usually live too deep for recreational divers to spot them. However every year for a couple of months divers have the chance to get a really good look at the fish thanks to changing currents and water temperature that makes the Mola Mola come to shallower depths.
Best Time to dive with MOLA MOLA in BALI
Some Bali dive sites are known for quite regular encounters when in season and divers from all over the world come to Bali just for this amazing experience. Read why we love diving in Padangbai here. One of the most recognizable physical characteristics of Mola Mola is the unique shape. It has large ventral fins, no caudal fin, large dorsal, tall but not long. Mola Mola thrives because it has only few predators such as sharks or orcas and humans unfortunately, as it is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. Mola Mola diet on the other hand consists mainly of jellyfish.
Their skin is about 5cm thick, and it is covered by a large number of parasites. They let themselves to be cleaned by small fish at the so called cleaning stations. When they do, they fall into some kind of idle state where they just relax and enjoy the treat. This is actually the best chance for the divers to have a close look at the Mola Mola. However there is a sort of a code of conduct or rules on how to approach Mola Mola without disturbing them. Watch our blog or newsletter as we will bring the information to you soon.
Ocean sunfish are in Bali waters all year round. As mentioned before though, most of the year they live too deep. The so called Mola season in Bali usually starts in July and lasts until November. Last year our OK Divers instructor Chris counted 50 of them during the season spotting a couple of them even in White Sand Beach Padangbai. We have also had occasional sightings outside the season making the diving in Padangbai even more exciting.
Most encounters happen in dive sites such as Nusa Penida, Padangbai or Nusa Lembongan. Beware though that certain locations can have challenging currents during Mola Mola season and thus are not suitable for new or inexperienced divers. Good news is that there are still a couple of month left until the season starts, so you have plenty of time to complete your PADI Open Water or PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course and gain enough experience to enjoy diving with Mola Molas.