Mola mola is probably the most bizarre looking—as well as one of the rarest—fish to be seen in shallow water. A wonder of the deep sea, which we know as the place where stranger creatures dwell. Mola Mola is not your everyday pelagic—they are the heaviest bony fish in the world, the most egg-laying fish, also the only fish to appear like a floating gigantic fish head on the blue ocean. It’s hard to spot the sunfish. They are not that common, they only love specific water, and once they reach adulthood, they travel alone. The Molas don’t form school of sunfishes. John O’Sullivan, curator of the fields operator at Monterey Bay Aquarium, even call them as “the Eeyore of the fishes”. Despite of their arresting visuals, we know very little about the sunfish—which made even difficult as this creature spend its time largely on the deeper sea. For example, Mola Mola has not been spotted for over eight years in California alone. Thankfully, they are a regular here in Bali. The Mola Mola is a permanent resident of Nusa Penida, where divers from all around the world flock every year hoping for a sight of this elusive creature.
Nusa Penida is Lucky to Have Mola Mola Around
Maybe it’s the warm tropical temperature. Maybe it’s the cleaning station in protected bays of Nusa Penida. Or maybe its both. Either way, the rarely sighted Mola Mola is pleased to hang out, live, and give birth in Nusa Penida waters. Water temperature in Nusa Penida ranges between 20º – 24ºC and is rich in plankton, jelly fishes, and small fishes. Basically, the Mola would never worry about food. Also, Nusa Penida has that cleaning station loved by amazing creatures in the neighbourhood. Nusa Penida’s cleaning station’s service is famous among Manta Ray, Sharks, and other fishes to get regular hygiene check on parasites. Mola Mola also loves getting their treatment in Nusa Penida. Their skin can get heavily infested by parasites—getting groomed by the cleaning fish is their yearly favourite. Also, that means divers can have a steady place that almost guarantee sighting of Mola Mola in Nusa Penida.
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Mola Mola Largely Spend Their Time in Open Ocean
Mola mola largely spend most of their time in the deep sea. They love to feed about 150 meters below the water surface, down to the cold twilight zone. Therefore their sighting is so special. Mola Mola only ascend once in a while to the surface to get cleaned and getting sunbathe. Think about getting solar recharging for your batteries. Increasing body temperature is important for Mola Mola—thankfully, the sun in Nusa Penida is always bright and blazing hot!
Time to Find Mola Mola in Nusa Penida
July to November is the time when Nusa Penida waters is getting cooler, thanks for currents flow from Lombok. The Mola Mola, diver of deeper depths, naturally found colder waters more appealing and this bring them to shallower water. This is the time when they’ll be booking their yearly appointment at the cleaning station, and also the best time to observe Mola Mola in Nusa Penida. If you are lucky, you might get a chance of actually spotting them laying flat on their side on water surface to sunbathe!