Do you dare to swim with a sunfish that’s at least three times your size? Or touch a hairy-looking creature that resembles a frog in Bali?
You’ve heard all about the 5 most haunted places in Bali you might not want to visit, and now we’re gonna tell you what lurks beyond its sandy shores and beneath its calm waters, for real.
So as you embark on your underwater adventures, beware of what’s perhaps eyeing you for dinner*.
1. Rub shoulders with the massive Sunfish
The Mighty Mola Mola – or what they call the Bali Sunfish – is one of the most magnificent sea animals you can find in Bali, in the waters around Nusa Penida.
Photo via Dive 2000
Despite coming up to nearly three times your size and weighing over 2,000 kg, this gentle creature is in fact, pretty harmless (to humans, at least). It’ll probably just stare at you with its dopey eyes as it lolls around awkwardly near the surface of the water, making you go awwww like how a manatee or dolphin would.
Don’t mistake it for a shark though. Like the predator, its large dorsal fin often protrudes from the water surface.
So how can you tell the difference? This silly creature sometimes flaps its fin comically – something which we’re sure Jaws wouldn’t do.
Photo via Fact Zoo
The best time of the year to see these incredible creatures is around Mid July to October in Nusa Penida (an island east of Jimbaran, with help of local expert to increase chance of sightings.2. Touch (not) the Hairy Frogfish
This unfriendly-looking critter is actually a type of anglerfish, that infamous scary-looking deep-sea monster with a dangly bulb of light on its head to lure its prey.
Photo via Mermaid Liveaboards
The only difference is that, for the frogfish, the bait appears as a worm or shrimp.
Curious? You probably can’t spot this guy easily though, as it’s often heavily camouflaged against coral reefs or rocks near the ocean floor, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting fish. If you manage to see it, watch out for its venomous spines, which will sting!
Photo via Frogfish.ch
And did you know – the frogfish is so grotesque that it’s even declared to be ‘The Spawn of Satan’ by the mayor of Bitung, Indonesia.
3. Find the elusive Ghost Pipefish
It’s not termed ‘ghost’ without reason. This delicate-looking thing often disguises itself as nearby sponge or seagrass, so it’s quite a challenge to spot it.
Photo via Best-Diving.org
Often no bigger than your little finger, the Ornate Ghost Pipefish loves to play dead – it’s usually (albeit weirdly) spotted floating upside down, with its mouth pointed downwards and lying almost motionless in the water.
Smart way to avoid ending up as another fish’s delicious meal, we think.
4. Transformers? Watch the Mimic Octopus do a makeover
Nope, we’re not kidding. You’ll have a tentacle of a time trying to figure out if that fish you’re eyeing is really what it appears to be.
Because it may very well be the Mimic Octopus in disguise.
Photo via Island Dreams
Mind you, this little guy is no sotong (a Mandarin dialect meaning ‘squid’, used to describe a person who is not very intelligent). It can take on the form of dangerous creatures such as the flatfish, lion fish, jellyfish and sea snake, or even Transformers to ward off predators.
Photo by Aaron
Next time you think it’s a delicious crab you spotted in the shallow waters, think again. It may be an octopus trying to trap a crab-suitor, then devouring it (way before you can).
5. Slug it out with the Nudibranch
This sea slug doesn’t look like your average slug.
Photo via The Flying Kiwi
Apart from being able to grow to the length of your arm, the Nudibranch is decked in striking and bold colours, proud of being, well, a shell-less snail, and to warn predators that it’s too poisonous to be yummy escargot.
And be careful when you swim near – it also releases toxins that can incapacitate its attacker. So think twice before you pick up this pretty (but slimy) little creature!