"Lucky for us, they are mellow fish that feed primarily on jellyfish and are not dangerous to people," crew member Giselle Anderson said of the giant ocean animal encounter.
Mola mola are also known as the Ocean Sunfish.
"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," Anderson said. "Now, who is watching who?"
Dana Point is located eight miles south of Laguna Beach in southern California.
Central Coasters who want to see this enormous species of fish up close can go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is home to three Mola molas.
They grow up to 10 feet wide and can weigh nearly 5,000 pounds. With their large, almost flat bodies, big eyes, and virtually no tail fin they look like visitors from another planet. 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 said.
Meanwhile, a sport fisherman who lives in Dana Point may have caught a $1 million catch.
Guy Yocom caught a 427-pound yellowfin tuna in Mexican waters. It took him about 50 minutes to land it.
The boat skipper, Greg DiStefano, says the catch was submitted to the International Game Fishing Association and if the fish's weight is confirmed, it would break the current record of 405 pounds and win a $1 million prize offered by Mustad, the company that made the hook that caught the fish.