Talk about a rare treat for those whale watching passengers aboard Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari excursions recently in Dana Point.
According to staff, a boatful of folks got "mugged" by what they say is the world's heaviest bony fish, a Mola mola also known as, an Ocean Sunfish, off the coast of Dana Point.
The yellow fish feeds mostly on jellyfish and is not considered dangerous to humans. In fact, they have more to fear from us. Mola mola can get caught in gill nets or suffocate on plastic bags that resemble their food of choice, said the staff of Capt. Dave's.
"Sunfish are usually shy and will flee from an approaching boat. But this large individual swam up and down the length of our catamaran and paused to check us out in our eye-to-eye underwater viewing Pods," said Giselle Anderson.
She also said Mola mola can reach up to 10 feet wide and weigh as much as a hefty 5,000 pounds. With their large, almost flat bodies, big eyes, and "virtually no tail fin they look like visitors from another planet," she said.
"Mola mola can become infested with skin parasites and our whale watchers often see them jumping several feet in the air in an attempt to remove the parasites. We also encounter them lounging near the surface and soaking up the warmth from the sun. And this year we've seen them in record numbers," Anderson added.