This week in Lembongan… It seems the mola season has started with a mola sighting every few days. But, they have been a little shy. Over the last few days, the ones that the divers have seen, have just been passing by and moving quickly. As rare and as special as these creatures are, even just a few seconds with a passing mola has made our guests happy. As the mola season kicks off, lets go through a few facts and myths about this crazy creatures.
1st off, Crystal Bay is not the only dive site where you have the chance to see them, in fact, out of all the dive sites where we do see them, Crystal Bay is the ‘worst’. The reason I say worst is because of the popularity that has grown with Crystal Bay and the idea that Crystal Bay is the only place to see that mola, which a lot of divers visiting the area think, Crystal Bay has become somewhat a crowded dive site. With dive centres from Penida, Bali and Lembongan all tucking into the small bay in the hopes to show their guests so beautiful coral and maybe a mola, it has resulted in many divers underwater and many snorkelers and boats on top of the water. So if you are lucky and have the chance to see a mola, it will be you and maybe 20 other divers around the confused creature. So we need to put this information forward, to stop the idea that Crystal Bay is the only place to see them, to stop divers coming to the area and demanding to go to Crystal Bay. If this continues and companies are forced to go there due to guests requests, soon it will result in the beautiful coral dying and it may end up being one of the dive sites we DON’T see mola, due to the molas finding new places to clean where there are less people.
2nd, we do not get mola mola here in Lembongan / Penida. Mola Mola is a different type of mola all together. The type of mola that we get here is the ‘Mola Ramsayi‘. We all need to get in the habit of dropping that 2nd ‘mola’ and start referring to them as mola or mola ramsayi. The mola ramsayi has more spot patterns and shading on them compared to the mola mola, which is more of a white colour, this makes the mola ramsayi more interesting to look at.
Molas are pretty young in the grand scheme of evolution. Sharks evolved over 400 million years ago, modern fish evolved about 100 million years ago but the mola didn’t evolve until about 50 million years ago.
The largest mola on record was caught on the 18th of September 1908, the steamer Fiona suffered a violent concussion. A dinghy was deployed and they found a mola had jammed the port propeller. The fish came in at a crazy, 2,235 KG, measured 3.1 meters from snout to ‘tail’ and 4.26 meters from fin tip to fin tip.
When reaching fill maturity, a mola can gain over 60,000,000 times it’s hatching weight, which is equivalent to a healthy human baby growing to a weight equal to 6 Titanic ships.