The mola mola, or sunfish, is the largest bony fish in the ocean and perhaps one of the most unusual looking. Like an oversized head with fins – the Germans named it “Schwimmender Kopf” (swimming head) – they are usually found lying flat at the surface or cumbersomely swimming in deep oceanic waters. But if luck blows your way, one of these odd-creatures might just bob into view on your next dive. We bring you six of the best places to dive with mola mola:
Galapagos, The Americas
A dive region of legendary status. The Galapagos Islands are often considered by experienced divers to represent something of a pinnacle in their scuba careers. Just taking a dinghy ride along the cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca will allow the opportunity to sea mola mola basking in the sun, but dive below the water’s surface and you can swim alongside them.
Nusa Penida, Indonesia
An island located between Bali and Lombok, the deep-water trenches and nutrient-rich waters of Nusa Penida are renowned as one of the top places to spot mola mola. To those who know, Crystal Bay is your best chance of an encounter as the sunfish often use the coral bay as a short-stop cleaning station.
Inner Hebrides, Oban, United Kingdom
Relatively unknown outside of the UK diving circle, mola mola are known to frequently visit this location. Offering incredible natural beauty on the West coast of Scotland – and post-dive whiskey and shortbread – the fantastic underwater scenery of Northern Britain is also a backdrop for the infamous basking shark.
Alboran Sea, Spain
The gateway to the Atlantic and the Strait of Gibraltar happens to have one frequent passer through their turnstile, mola mola. There are plenty of places along the Southern coast where divers can encounter these fish, and with over 300 days of sunshine a year the odds are considerably high on betting to spot one.
Palau Sardinia, Italy
Palau Sardinia offers a range of diving to suit almost every taste: caves, wrecks, corals, crustaceans, etc. Enter from the shore or giant-stride off the boat-side and become submerged in an underwater landscape that is full of a variety of marine life – most namely the mola mola.