MOLA MOLA CODE OF CONDUCT


The following Code of Conduct or Best Practice for Recreational Divers in Lembongan/Penida, Bali was established in consultation with leading sunfish experts, scientific researchers, experienced local marine managers, industry representatives and dive guides operating in the area for over 15 years. These guidelines are designed to provide a satisfying and safe diving experience while insuring the lowest sustainable impact on the sunfish population of Bali.

These guidelines, while written for Bali, are applicable to any area where large numbers of divers are interacting with Mola mola at cleaning stations. The aim of developing the Code of Conduct for sunfish interactions is to ensure sunfish are able to settle onto cleaning stations without being disturbed. The removal of parasites at the cleaning stations is critical to the health of the molas. Once settled, the sunfish can remain on station for longer periods, offering better quality interactions for divers.

We encourage wide dissemination of these guidelines by all such dive operations.

HISTORY


Between October 2004 and August 2005 at Lembongan/Penida, overly aggressive divers routinely ousted sunfish from their cleaning stations. These interactions dramatically decreased the time sunfish spent nearshore and greatly limited the number of sightings provided to divers. Previous records, collected since the early 1990s (i.e. sunfish numbers, locations and behaviour) suggest that in previous years the “Bali sunfish” were present in much higher numbers. More importantly, the fish were more stationary and seemingly at ease at known cleaning stations—routinely the sunfish did not show any reaction to the divers’ observations and remained in their initial position for long periods. This allowed divers to enjoy the sunfish’s natural behaviour and more often than not an exceptional encounter with this mysterious giant fish. These encounters have given Bali its reputation as a world-class area for diving with the oceanic Mola mola.

By voluntarily adopting this set of guidelines, it is hoped that local dive operators and divers can lessen the tourist pressures on sunfish and allow these fish to resume their natural cleaning station behavior and previous high numbers. The quality of interaction, diver safety and hence the value and sustainability of this unique diver experience can also be maintained and ideally improved as the sunfish will be less likely to be frightened away.

Contact us for a custom made dive package. That’s right, just tell us what you want and we will create it for you!

Voluntary Codes of Conduct have proven vital in managing diver impacts on marine life and habitats in other popular dive destinations including:

  • whale sharks in Western Australia
  • manta rays in Hawai’i
  • coral reefs in the Caribbean, South Pacific and Australia

With adherence to this voluntary Code of Conduct and Best Practices, the future divers of Lembongan/Penida can avoid the necessity for legislation and enforcement involving unwanted punitive fines.

CODE OF CONDUCT – DIVING WITH OCEAN SUNFISH


  • Always approach sunfish very slowly within its field of view.
  • If the fish are just entering the cleaning station, do not approach until the cleaning has begun and the fish have been stationary for at least 1 minute.
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 3m (or 2 body lengths) from the closest sunfish when animal is at a cleaning station.
  • Maintain a minimum distance of 10m (or 5 body lengths) when animal is unsettled (not in cleaning) and considering approach to the reef.
  • DO NOT TOUCH.
  • DO NOT FEED.
  • Do not swim behind the sunfish as this can startle the animal.
  • Do not swim under the fish as your bubbles will disturb cleaning behavior.
  • Wherever possible, do not block the sunfish’s escape route off the reef or pathway onto a cleaning station.
  • If a sunfish approaches you, remain still and do not touch it. If you touch it you will remove the layer of mucus that protects it against infection.
  • Do not use flash photography as this often disturbs the fish.
  • Do not use personal underwater motorized propulsion vehicles or make unnecessary loud noises.
  • Be courteous to other divers and restrict your interaction time to 5 minutes when other groups are present.
  • Only dive with companies which have endorsed and adhere to the Code of Conduct.
  • Follow the directions of your dive guide.
  • Hotel pickup/drop off service (Contact us for free zones)
  • Full dive equipment
  • Lunch, bottled water, tea & coffee
  • Beach towels
  • Renewed & insured PADI Divemaster / Instructor dive guide
  • Diver Insurance
  • All park & porter fees
Equipment rental is available at no extra charge for those who do not have their own dive gear, Nitrox air fills are available at IDR   65.000 per fill. Lunch is provided courtesy of our local warungs who work exclusively for Blue Season Bali. Choose between the delicious sandwiches and the traditional dishes of Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. Vegetarians are also catered for. When diving with Blue Season Bali you only need to bring your certification cards and logbooks as well as items such items as sunglasses, sunscreen, swimsuit and a camera. Blue Season Bali has digital underwater cameras available for rent at IDR   600.000 / day. This includes a FREE SD card for you to keep.
All of our Bali Sunfish trips are led and guided by our experienced team of PADI Divemasters and Instructors. We can’t wait to show you what Bali Diving has to offer! We keep our diving ratio’s at 4  guests to one guide – so that you get the best, safest experience here in Bali!
*Important - please note that Nusa Penida can experience strong currents and for this reason we require the minimum diving experience for all participants:
  • At least 30 logged dives.
  • Minimum Advanced Open Water diver certification.
  • Experience in deep and drift diving.
  • Dived within the last 6 months.
  • For divers who do not have the necessary experience, we hold the right to refuse them entry to this  programme in the interests of safety, or we may require them to undergo a day of diving at a different location in order to check them out first.
  • Alternatively why not ask about our Advanced Open Water Certification?
  • Please also note that Manta Point can experience swell – small children and those sensitive to motion sickness may experience seasickness at this site. Due to surface conditions, it is not always possible to visit Manta Point. Should the conditions be unsafe, an alternative site will be chosen on the day. No refunds will be given for trips that do not include Manta Point.

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