By Kanika Dhupar @kanika_kd

A BRITISH diver is dwarfed by a giant southern ocean sunfish off the coast of Bali

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Close encounter: British diver Stefan Follows gets up close and personal with a southern ocean sunfish

The ocean sunfish, otherwise known as Mola mola, is the heaviest known bony fish in the world and can weigh up to 2,000lb.

Big deal: Otherwise known as Mola mola, the southern ocean sunfish is the heaviest known bony fish in the world

These images were captured by Stefan Follows, a British master scuba instructor and tropical research diver, who is currently based in Thailand.

Prize catch: the massive fish can weigh up to 2,000lb

Southern ocean sunfish usually live in extremely deep waters well beyond the limits of divers.

The elusive sunfish usually stick to deep waters...
…but in certain areas they surface to have parasites removed by reef fish

However, in certain locations and at certain times they ascend to shallow water to have the parasites that live on their skin removed by reef fish. 

One of these locations is Gili Mimpang, just twenty minutes by boat from Padangbai in Bali. If approached calmly and slowly it is possible to spend time with these amazing fishes without scaring them back into the shadows.

Heads up: the unusually-looking creatures have the appearance of a fish's head with a tail attached

Despite their bizarre-looking appearance, Stefan considers himself lucky to have been able to capture these underwater creatures at such close range.

Click bait: Stefan is normally based in Thailand but travelled to Bali to see the sunfish

He said: “I have been living and working as a diving instructor, centre manager, and guide in the Gulf of Thailand for over a decade, which has allowed me virtually endless opportunities to indulge in my passion for teaching, diving, photography and all things aquatic.”

Today, he leads the education department of Core Sea, a small research field station on Koh Pha Ngan, which gives even more time for his passion. 

“When I’m not teaching I’m taking pictures,” says Stefan.