How would you like to come face-to-face with one of the ocean’s most peculiar marine creatures? We’re talking about the giant ocean sunfish, also known as the Mola Mola, the largest of all bony fish. With its unusual physical attributes and shape, it looks a little like a very bony half-shark with no tail. Together with its large bulging eyes, an o-shaped mouth and an almost flat, round body, the Mola Mola is one of the most unique marine creatures you will ever come across!
The elusive ocean sunfish is rarely seen as it lives in depths of 45 to 190 metres. They can be found all over the world except in the Arctic and Antarctic, including in some very special locations across Indonesia. Nevertheless, these shy pelagics can be hard to spot. You may see one if you are very lucky when you join Mikumba’s Volcanic Spice Tour on a liveaboard trip with Jelajahi Laut.
Interesting Facts About The Mola Mola
Before you embark on our epic Volcanic Spice Tour, here are some more interesting facts about the shy oceanic sunfish to truly prepare you for what’s in store. Let’s take a look.
The Molas Unique Features
According to National Geographic, “mola” in Latin means millstone, which describes the sunfish’s somewhat circular disc-like shape. They have thick, rough and rubbery iridescent silver skin that’s covered with parasites and mucus and no tails; instead, they have round tail fins called clavus.
Size and Weight
Mola Mola can grow up to 3.35 metres long and can weigh up to 900 kilograms. The largest Molas ever recorded was 4.2 metres long and 3.35 metres wide and weighed 2500 kilograms. That’s heavier than a truck! In fact, Molas are the heaviest bony fish in the world.
Mola Mola Diet
Adult Molas can eat up to 1.3% of their body weight daily. Their diet consists of jellyfish, zooplankton, algae, small fishes and the occasional squid and other invertebrates. Here’s a fun fact: Mola Mola do not have teeth. Instead, they have plates in their mouths that look like a bird’s beak. They suck their food back and forth through their throats until reduced to chunks.
Mola Mola Behaviour
Mola Mola may be giant creatures but they are shy and harmless to humans. Despite being so timid, they are quite curious by nature and would often approach divers. Otherwise, they would generally keep to themselves and run away if startled. They can swim up to 26 km per day at up to 2.3 km per hour.
Molas are infested with over 50 different types of parasites. Due to this, they often head to “cleaning stations” where reef fish will work on ridding the Mola Mola of parasites. The Molas also often float to the surface of the sea to lie on their sides and let seagulls pick their skin clean.
Where Can You Find The Mola Mola?
Mola Mola can be found in warm waters all over the world, including in Indonesia if luck is on your side. Start by taking the adventurous route with Mikumba’s Volcanic Spice Tour on Jelajahi Laut.
You will enjoy an epic, small-group expedition to lesser-travelled, exotic and almost untouched locations in east Indonesia away from the masses for a dive adventure to remember and look forward to discovering east Indonesia’s breathtaking, remote islands that are teeming with marine creatures, wildlife and colourful corals. You can take your time onboard Jelajahi Laut to sail in and out of coves and inlets, and from one island to another to the most coveted diving locations that Indonesia has to offer.
There will also be opportunities to immerse yourself in Indonesia’s rich culture and history that can be found in Banda and Alor. Let’s take a look at just some of the experiences and encounters you can expect on this epic trip.
Mikumba’s Volcanic Spice Tour
Your journey begins in Maumere, the capital city of Ende on the island of Flores in east Nusa Tenggara. From here, we’ll cruise along the far end of Flores into the surrounding waters of Alor, towards the Forgotten Islands, crossing the Banda Sea, and ending the trip in the bay of Ambon.
In each of these thrilling and stunning locations, we’ll be looking for Hammerhead Sharks, Rhinopias, Frogfish and Nudibranch. If the odds are in your favour, you may even come across Mola Mola or Thresher Sharks too. In the Bay of Ambon, we’ll go hunting for Fingerprint Shrimps, Boxer Crabs, Wonderpus, Rhinopias, Frogfish, Candy Crabs, and more.
Along the way, we’ll find new dive sites, embark on land visits to see ancient tribes and the Dutch Fort, and try some of the local moonshine, locally known as “arak”.
Diving Adventure with Jelajahi Laut
Ready to set sail on your own exciting diving adventure with Mikumba and Jelajahi Laut? The Mikumba Volcanic Spice Tour takes place in October and May for 15 days and 14 nights.
The fare is inclusive of a cabin, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages. Jelajahi Laut – which means “explore the oceans” in English – can accommodate up to 14 guests on private charter or 12 guests on a normal trip with six cabins, hot water and AC, and a large sun deck with air-conditioned dining and living rooms.