The famous mola mola off the east coast of Bali had some how evaded me over the years. I had not even managed to catch a glimpse of this strange creature. As such, I decided to put an end to this streak.
The peak of Mola Mola season in Bali falls in September (and extends into October) when waters are at the coldest. In addition, peak viewing times coincide with lunar cycles. If you manage to time it just right (and nature cooperates) you will be in for a treat of a lifetime. As it turns out, we hit the nail on the head!
We spent several days in the crystal clear waters of Crystal Bay, Nusa Pendia (appropriately named) diving with these gentle giants. On each and every dive in the bay, we encountered between 3 and 5 Mola Mola. On one occasion, the largest of the group, measuring about 3 meters in span, allowed us to approach within inches. We spent several minutes shooting every possible angle, examining the tiny parasites crawling on its skin and being picked off by banner fish, and just appreciating the gentleness and beauty of these giant awkward fish.
These were some of the more memorable days in my diving experience. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being in such close and personal proximity to the giant mola mola. They were fully aware of our presence, yet seemed to understand that we meant them no harm. Perhaps this is why they allowed us to approach so closely and spend so much time with them. Or, perhaps they were just as curious about us, the strange, bubble bellowing, glassy-eyed fish!