Dance with the moonfish

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

I can not resist the pleasure of showing you on video the dance of the mola-mola (and, of course, the mola-mola), after having (finally) met this big moon fish in the waters of Nusa Penida.

Mola-mola in Nusa Penida

I've put together a little video sequence full of bubbles, so you can appreciate the style and grace of the big cosmic beast. I had the chance to admire this beautiful sunfish at the end of July 2008, in the waters of Crystal Bay, in Nusa Penida (This island is located southeast of Bali and accessible by boat from Sanur or from neighboring Nusa Lembongan, where I stayed).

As for the mola-mola dance, it is practiced by divers eager to share their enthusiasm of having met the beast... One hand above the head, the other under the buttocks, to imitate the fins of the sunfish. Check out my underwater choreography at the end of the video! 😂

A fabulous dive, which seems far away already ... I will not be able to do the mola-mola dance again soon.

A big danke for the final images to my buddy and benevolent accomplice Peter Modrow, who filmed my bubbles and my aquatic contortions.


Previous articles on my encounters with mola-molas:
→ I swam with a mola-mola
→ Mola-mola, the return

  Indonesia: Bali - July 2008

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  1. Gee, that's a big one!!! 😯 I'm so glad I finally got a better idea of this mola-mola you've been telling us so much about!!!!
    Thank you!!!!

  2. @ Helen:

    Yes, it's very big, huge!!! 😯 😛 😮

    It's the first thing you think when you see one underwater for the first time. A sunfish is both beautiful and impressive. One of my strongest underwater emotions on this trip...

    Okay, I'll stop there with the molas-molas. I turn mono-maniac, with this bug!


  3. Impressive, I've heard a lot about the mola, I was even promised that I would see some and it never happened.
    You're irresistible imitating him though 😉

  4. @ Denis:

    Yes, there's nothing more frustrating than not seeing the promised mola-mola... So imagine my disappointment on the 2nd dive there, when I was the only one on the boat to miss the beast! Fortunately, I made up for it in the days that followed.

    Out of a total of five dives at Crystal Bay, I saw the sunfish three times (nothing on the 1st trip, missed on the 2nd and saw it on each of the following three). So that's a pretty good average... If you ever get the chance to get your fins wet there in the right season (July to September, unless I'm mistaken), you should still have a good chance of seeing one.

    And then, the "mola-mola dance" at the landing, it's the new summer dance that makes you irresistible, it's well known!!!!

  5. I hope to say hello to this mola next July, I also have a great memory of a fresh coco on Crystal Bay beach!

  6. @Sonia: Ah... there was more than one mola-mola in Crystal Bay. I hope you get the chance, like me, to see them! They're a fabulous sight.

  7. May 13, 2010, 12 minutes of happiness ...

    Followed by an hour at Manta Point...

    And Monday, I work!
    I'm passing on the link to this great video to my new "boss"...also a diver!

  8. @ Blue shrimp: Chic! A new molas-mola worshipper!!! How I envy you for having been able to rub shoulders with these charming critters recently... Good luck with Monday's resumption, then. If you're ever feeling a little sluggish, don't hesitate to relaunch the video.

  9. Hello,
    I'm back from 10 days on Gili Air after a week in Bali. What a disappointment!! all the corals are dead, it's white everywhere, I dived on real white "highways". even in front of the 7seas resort where apparently there was supposed to be snorkeling for my wife: NOTHING in corals, compared to the fish.
    I regret the coral fields of Apo Island near Siguiyor.

    1. @Of the garden : thank you for your testimonial! Yes, the poor state of the coral on the Gili islands (Meno, Air and Trawangan) to the north-west of Lombok is well known and I don't advise divers to go there (I've never mentioned these Gili islands on this blog). These islands are accessible from Bali by speed-boat (or plane + boat) and attract a lot of tourists, but in my eyes as an underwater photographer diver, they are of little interest... 😉

      I set foot there once, way back in 2002, before the current tourist boom and before I started this blog (in 2006). Back then, there was nothing but dead coral everywhere (the result of dynamite fishing, which had long been practised in the area), but by way of consolation, there were plenty of turtles to be seen. What you say confirms what I knew from other accounts: unfortunately, things haven't improved at all in fifteen years...

      In Bali and nearby, it is better to dive elsewhere: Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida (islands located to the south-east of Bali and accessible by boat from Sanur) mentioned in the article above are much more interesting underwater, and in July, I was lucky enough to come across the famous mola-molas there, which I talk about here. Otherwise, other really interesting diving spots in Bali itself, which I can recommend: Amed and Tulamben (northeast, at the foot of Mount Agung) and Pemuteran and Menjengan (North West).