Dive Details



Saturday 24 December 2016


1:59pm - 3:40pm


There was an easterly wind blowing and an easterly swell but there was hardly a ripple hitting The Steps. The swell was noticeable at The Leap but still not all that big. The low platform was mostly exposed so I was able to get in from there. I could see the bottom from the surface so the visibility there was around 5 metres. I descended and swam at around 45° to the sand line. I arrived at the Amphitheatre and visibility was around 10 metres but the temperature had dropped to nearly 16°C. There was a gentle current but not much surge.

I had a quick look at Pygmy Rock for pygmy pipehorses before heading towards The Steps along the sand line. I was quite pleased with the visibility as an easterly swell can make it quite dirty. I swam past Seahorse Rock and Southern Cross Rock and came across a weedy seadragon (PT2015062401) just before the start of Seadragon Alley.

Just as I got to Seadragon Alley it got dark very quickly. I looked up to see a massive school of Australian salmon. There would have been thousands of fish in the school. They swam quite close to me at times. I took some video but it was so dark the video won't show how impressive it was. They were even stirring up the bottom.

I swam through Seadragon Alley and came across another weedy seadragon (PT2013122201). This was a female I first saw 3 years ago and I can recognise her because of the cut to her first appendage. I'm glad at least some of the older seadragons are still around after the storm.

I continued on past Big Rock and started to look for the pygmy pipehorses we'd seen last weekend near hand rock. I scoured the rocks but could not find a single pygmy. I was looking at all the right rocks but they were not visible to me. I was quite cold by now so it could possibly be I wasn't thinking straight but I was able to make out small sea hares.

I stayed along the top of the reef until I came to the rock where the Miamira magnifica nudibranches had been. Neither was on the rock nor could I see them on adjacent rocks. The basket star was on its sponge.

I worked my way back to High Pygmy Rock in the hope of finding some pygmies but found none along the way. I swam back to Diversity Rock and found nothing of interest there.

I continued along the sand line towards The Steps and just before Little Big Rock I found the male pygmy pipehorse (IL2016121704) I'd seen last weekend. I looked for the female but couldn't find her. At least I'd found a pygmy pipehorse.

I cut up the reef to Di's Rock and spotted a clown toby on the way. I then headed for the boulders and started my safety stop while swimming to Split Rock. I finished my safety stop at Split Rock and then got out at The Steps. With the low tide and gentle swell it was an easy exit.




5 to 10 metres


101 minutes

Maximum depth

21.1 m

Average depth

14.0 m

Water temperature



Dive Profile from Citizen Hyper Aqualand

Tides at Botany Bay AEDT

Note that tides at dive site may vary from above location.










Camera gear


Nikon D7000


Nikon AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED


Ikelite 6801.70

Lens port

Ikelite Flat Port 5502.41


2 x Ikelite SubStrobe DS161


Depth information, where present, indicates the depth of the camera when the photograph was taken and can be used to approximate the depth of the subject.

Weedy seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, (PT2015062401). 18.1 m.

Weedy seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, (PT2013122201). 16.3 m.

Juvenile mosaic leatherjacket, Eubalichthys mosaicus. 15.5 m.

Sub-adult mosaic leatherjacket. Eubalichthys mosaicus. 15.3 m.

Basket star, Astrosierra amblyconus. 11.7 m.

Male Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri, (IL2016121704). 12.8 m.

Clown toby, Canthigaster callisterna. 11.6 m.