Making the most out of your dives with Mantas and Molas on Bali
Diving with mantas or molas (sunfish) is an incredible experience. One that many divers remember for a very long time. I for one will never forget my first encounter with a manta ray or the sunfish! How great your experience is and how long you will be able to see them, will also largely depend on how divers behave around these fish. You might have experienced diver behavior underwater at some point or another that scared fish away and spoiled your dive a bit. To allow everyone to make the most of their encounter with the sunfish and mantas without disturbing these great animals, the Coral Triangle Center, Aquatic Alliance and other organisations have developed a code of conduct which we follow at Joe’s Gone Diving....
Avoid entering cleaning stations
There are several cleaning stations for Mantas and Molas on Bali. The best known for mantas is without a doubt the Manta Point cleaning station on Nusa Penida. Divers who get too close to the rocks or go on top of the rocks, might scare the mantas away and miss out on the amazing manta parade we often see. Eventually it might even lead to the mantas leaving the cleaning station completely and the Manta Point cleaning station will no longer attract mantas in the future. The best thing to do at Manta Point is to not go to them, instead wait till they come to you, just hang back and enjoy the spectacle.
Never approach from behind or block their path
It is quite simple but very easy to forget. Imagine someone sneaks up on you from behind and is suddenly there, you will be startled. This is no different for a manta or sunfish. Just swim very slowly when you approach a manta or sunfish and make sure you are in full view. Also be aware that together with the divers around you, you might be blocking their path without noticing it. If you approach them the right way, chances are high they will just hang around and you are able to enjoy them for a long time.
No closer than 3 meters
Keep your distance. Keep at least 10 metres away when the fish is unsettled or is considering approaching the reef. When the animal is at the cleaning station, keep 3 metres distance between you and the fish.
Never chase or touch a Manta or Mola Mola
Always approach the sunfish or manta slowly. If you stay still, you will sometimes find the manta or mola will come to you. This happens on a regular basis on Manta Point. The Mantas will come so close you can almost touch them. Please resist the urge and remain still. Don’t touch them, if you do, you will remove the layer of mucus that protects them against infection, something not many people are aware of.
Do not touch or kick hard or soft corals
While seeing a manta or mola can cause excitement, make sure you don’t forget about the other amazing marine life and corals around you. Don’t lean or kick the corals when you are trying to spot the fish or take a picture. This is no different than any other dive of course.
Pay attention to your guide/instructor
Last but not least, don’t forget to pay close attention to your dive guide or instructor as they might want to point out cool things or give you directions. They dive here all the time and know like no other how to behave around these impressive fish.
Simple rules that will help us all making the most of our dives with these amazing fish! At Joe’s Gone Diving we certainly try to stick to them, so your dive guide will brief you and your fellow divers on the code of conduct before you start your dives with us on Nusa Penida.
And the main thing to remember: just lay back and enjoy the show!