After a few weeks of absence our wonderful manta rays are back in full force. After an extended period of big swells which kept us away from Batu Lumbung, Manta Point, we ventured down the coast yesterday. The waves were still crashing against the rocks on the way down, and recent reports had been not hopeful, so we did not know what to expect when we went over the side!
We were not disappointed. They were every where and had obviously regained their joie de vivre! They were chasing, swirling, cleaning and even playing peek a boo with the divers behind the corals! It still blows me away when I turn around and find a manta has snuck up behind me and is inches away with a huge grin on its face.
After an hour of diving with these gorgeous creature it was time for us to get back on big boat. We were all reluctant to leave and will be back as soon as possible as the sea is calm for the next few days.
Guidelines for Diving With Manta Rays and Mola Mola in Bali
The following Code of Conduct has been disseminated across operators in Bali and its aim is allowing divers to witness these amazing creatures without interfering in or disturbing their natural behavior. Here at World Diving Lembongan we follow these simple steps to ensure that our divers have AMAZING encounters!
Always stay close to the reef, never approach the mola from above – if you wait it will slowly swim up the reef as it is being cleaned
If manta rays or mola are just entering a cleaning station do not approach until the cleaning has begun and the fish have been stationary for at least 1 minute – once the cleaning begins the fish will relax and are less likely to be startled.
Do not get too close – stay at least 3 – 5 meters from manta rays and mola.
If manta rays and mola are swimming or approaching a cleaning station stay at least 10 meters away to give them chance to settle.
Do not touch manta rays or mola – their skins’ surface is covered by a mucus membrane to protect against infection – touching the fish removes parts of the membrane.
Do not swim under or behind mola as this startles them.
Do not block a manta or mola’s exit from a cleaning station – never crowd either fish – they will become startled and flee.
If manta rays are cleaning remain passive and observe them from the bottom of the cleaning station – do not swim to the top of it.
If a manta ray or mola approaches you remain still and calm – jerky movements will startle the fish. Neither mola nor manta rays are harmful.
Do not use flash photography as this disturbs the fish.
Do not use personal underwater motorized propulsion vehicles or make loud noises.
Be courteous to other divers and restrict your interaction time to 5 minutes when other groups are present.
Dive with companies who follow the Code of Conduct and always follow your dive guides directions.
Want to see manta and mola with us and our expert team of Divemasters? Just let us know your dates and we’ll get straight back to you email@example.com
The majority of diving around Nusa Penida (and in many parts of Indonesia) is drift diving and the currents can vary from almost nothing to drifts where divers cover 2km of shore line in just 40 minutes! Whilst some divers love the exhilarating thrill of ‘flying’ along the reef others find it a daunting and nerve racking experience, however, there are some general guidelines which can help making diving in currents both safer and more enjoyable.
– Follow the directions of your guide and only enter the water when instructed to do so.
– Stay close to the reef or the bottom as currents here will be weaker. During the dive stay behind your guide.
– Secure all dangling equipment.
– Control your buoyancy and let the current move you along.
– Use reef formations as shelter if you want to take a breather.
– Do not fight the current – it is easy to become overexerted.
– To determine current direction look at indicators such as soft coral and reef fish (which generally swim head-on into the current)
– Carry a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) and make sure you are familiar with how to inflate it.
– If you become separated from your group look around for one minute – if you don’t find them, go up and you should be re-united on the surface.
– If you cannot see your boat upon surfacing or if you have any doubt about whether your boat has seen you do NOT wait in strong surface currents – swim across the current, towards the shore if possible.
Tidal currents vary according to the time of the tide because the vertical rise and fall of the tides also creates a horizontal movement of water moving either from the open ocean in towards shore on a rising tide or from the shoreline to the open ocean on a falling tide. There are also periods (at high tide or low tide) when the horizontal movement of water is minimal or non-existent and this is termed ‘slack high’ or ‘slack low’. As a general rule, diving on slack high is preferable as visibility is usually much better. On days when there is a large tidal range (such as close to new moon or full moon) currents can be expected to be faster as there is a greater horizontal movement of water. When there is only a minimal range (neap tides), currents are least ferocious – neap tides occur twice a month in the first and third quarter of the moon.
Time your dives with the tides, remember the general guidelines and go with the flow!
The mighty Mola (Oceanic sunfish) is one of the reasons why our islands and our dive sites are so famous.
The sunfish is one of the strangest looking fish in the ocean and yet one that divers often place highly on their lists of ‘things to see’. As the heaviest known bony fish in the world and weighing in at over 2,200lbs the mola has two dorsal fins making it as tall as it is long. The most distinguishing feature of the mola is its main body area – of which there is very little – and which is flattened laterally. This strange shaping explains the German name for the fish – ‘schwimmender kopf’ which translates literally to ‘swimming head’. The word ‘mola’ is actually latin and means ‘millstone’ perhaps referring to either the shape or marbled coloration of the fish which is very typical in the Ramsayi species commonly seen around Nusa Penida.
Sunfish live on a diet of nutritionally poor jelly fish and to maintain their body weight they consume huge quantities. Ordinarily they are deep water fish but they are seen around Nusa Penida from July to October as they drift up the reefs on the cold thermoclines making their way into the shallower waters. Year round they carry an incredibly heavy parasitic load and these giant fish rely on some of the reefs smallest inhabitants to unburden them through cleaning.
Mola cleaning is an incredible sight as this huge fish, which averages around 2 meters, cruises up the reef hoping to attract the attention of the smaller reef fish. Banner fish are one of the great mola cleaning fish and can be seen literally leaving the reef in swarms as they flock to the mola. Other cleaner fish include cleaner wrasse which primarily clean around the gills and mouth, butterfly fish which focus on the eyes and even emperor angel fish have been seen cleaning the dorsal fins. Another means by which the mola is thought to rid itself of parasites is by ‘jumping’ – a phenomenon often witnessed by fishermen and during surface intervals. The mola will break through the surface and then crash back down creating an almighty splash which is thought to break off parasites in the process.
They are a truly Jurassic looking fish which, as a member of the order Tetraodontiformes, are closely related to pufferfish, porcupine fish and triggerfish. The sunfish is also referred to as the Balinese Sunfish (or Moonfish to the French – Poisson Lune). The name sunfish is thought to come from its habit of ‘sunbathing’ on the surface of the water.
Are you hoping to see a mola? The season is our busiest time here at Word Diving so be sure to book your space on the boat well in advance. Our PADI Divemasters know exactly when and where to look for them so you’ll be diving with mola experts! To make your reservation contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org