Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Saving a Mola Mola and Keeping Mabul Clean!

It’s been another month filled with great diving, as well as some unexpected sightings. We’ve also made some huge leaps forward in terms of helping keep Pulau Mabul clean!

Sipadan has continued to prove itself as one of the greatest islands in the world to dive. We have had several sightings of Hammerhead sharks, as well as all the usual suspects: Schooling Barracuda, Trevally, Butterfly fish, several species of Unicorn fish and let’s not forget the huge amounts of White Tip and Grey Reef sharks we have been seeing! 

However, it was not Sipadan that gave us the most unusual sighting this month; that honour was reserved for Pulau Mabul. Whilst heading out to a dive site around Mabul, one of our boats was called to aid a distressed Mola Mola! Whilst it is not the first time that this unusual and beautiful fish has been seen around this area, it is certainly the first time in a long while. This bizarre looking fish is generally found in temperate and tropical waters. They tend to come up into shallow water to bask in the warmth of the sun, but are often seen at dive sites that have cold, upwelling currents. 

The Mola Mola was sustaining injuries on the sharp coral
It was not a simple rescue. The Mola had become hugely distressed. Stranded in water less than its height, it was cutting its fins and body on the sharp rubble and coral in the shallow water. It took nearly 45 minutes for our staff to help guide the Mola Mola into deeper waters, sustaining their own injuries along the way! Of course, Scuba Junkie enforces a no touching policy. Touching underwater creatures can introduce harmful bacteria as well as creating unneccesary stress for the animal. However, in this unique case it was deemed necessary by our trustworthy and responsible staff – one of which was one of our onsite Environmental Officers, Cat – that touching the Mola Mola would only aid it in this potentially dangerous situation.
Only touching the Mola Mola to aid it to safety

All guests who were on the boat got to take part in the incredible experience, and there were some big smiles in the bar that night. Of course, the situation in which they saw the Mola was far from ideal; it's never nice to see an animal in distress. However, it was a rewarding experience for those involved, especially after seeing the Mola steady itself in the deeper water and swim off. 
As you may previously have known, we here are Scuba Junkie are proud of our beach cleans. At least once a week staff, and any customers who wish to take part, head down to the beach armed with bags and gloves and try to keep Mabul clean! Usually this happens during the first surface interval and it can be pretty sweaty work. Last week, however, it was Esscom (one of the security forces on the island) who organised a beach clean. They opted for a 6.30am start, when it's a little cooler - and what better way to start the day than knowing you've made a difference.

As staff got to the beach, still yawning and waking up, we saw that many people from our neighbouring village were getting involved! It was an incredible turn out, and we are hugely thankful to everyone who took park. And especially to Sargent Major Tuan Mude (Head of Police Esscom on Pulau Mabul) who organised this event. The effort put in was amazing, with people going out into the deeper water, up to their chest, to help clear debris out of the water. We collected over 300kg of rubbish. Although we may not be a huge fan of the early starts, we can certainly get used to it and all hope that this will become a regular event! 
HUGE Thanks to everyone involved!

Here are some facts about Mola Molas!
  • They are the ocean's largest and heaviest bony fish! 
  • They are unable to fully close their small beak-like mouths
  • They can breach the surface, going up to 10 feet out of the water 
  • The like to eat jellyfish
  • It is thought that they spend more time at the surface at night time
  • One Mola was found with an estimated 300 million eggs in her ovaries! When they hatch they are only 2mm in size!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

11 Reasons why Flamboyant Cuttlefish are AMAZING!!

1. They walk along the bottom of the sea, and are the only cuttlefish known to behave in such a way

2. They can go from being the same colour as the sand they walk on to a rippling bright purple, brown and white with yellow edging in a second! This is due to chromatophores - these are pigments cells that can be manipulated to change colour. 

3. They produce an ink to confused predators while they swim away. Hmmm... crafty!

We didn't have a photo of one inking...

4. Their buoyancy is controlled by their inner shell - the cuttlebone. Made of calcium carbonate it is divided into many chambers which the cuttlefish can rapidly fill or empty of gas to control it's bouyancy! 

5. They look really really cute inside their eggs! 

Photo from

6. It is the only toxic cuttlefish known to exist

7. Look at how they catch the little fish that they eat! 

8. They only grow up to 8cm long. 

9. They are thought to live between 18 - 24months, but the females die just after spawning. 

Big thanks to Redfish Media for the photo!

10. They can live in waters up to 86m deep! 

11. They have well developed brains that means they can see, smell and sense sound waves. They can use this information to determine what colouration is required for their environment.

They are just generally AMAZING!! 

Here's a link to an amazing video of flamboyant cuttlefish put together by Jon and Deb!