Dive Details



Monday 5 June 2017


8:41am - 10:15am


It looked so calm at The Steps and the water looked clear. We would be getting in more then 3 hours after high tide so I wasn't expecting much in the way of conditions. I was actually fearful we'd hit the wall of muck we'd seen as little as 90 minutes after high tide last weekend.

We got in at The Steps and there was barely a ripple. The surface water looked clean. Mike headed off to the shallows to look for tropical fish while I slowly made my way to the sand line knowing he'd catch up to me. At the sand line the visibility was at least 10 metres, there was barely any water movement other than the outgoing tide, and the water temperature was around 18°C (not that it mattered as I was in my drysuit).

I headed along the sand line towards Big Rock. Mike caught up to me fairly quickly and we swam together. I spotted a large Nembrotha purpureolineata nudibranch and pointed it out to Mike. I then found the tiny Nembrotha sp. nudibranch I'd seen on Saturday. I also pointed that out to Mike. I saw a weedy seadragon on the sand and took some photographs.

I stopped at Little Big Rock to look for pygmy pipehorses. The Carijoa is still covered in snot algae which makes spotting the pygmies difficult.

We continued on to Diversity Rock and I spotted the red male pygmy pipehorse. He was still low down near the sea tulips.

I then headed to the area between Diversity Rock and Miamira Rock to look for the widebody pipefish. I found him in the same alga I'd seen him on Saturday. I looked in the other red alga clumps and found two widebody pipefish in another alga further south east, on the other side of the basket star. That was three on one dive. I showed them to Mike.

I swam along the top of the reef to Roney's widebody pipefish and found it in the same alga I have seen it in on 3 previous occassions. That makes 4 on one dive.

I dropped down to the sand line as I headed to Big Rock. I was hoping to find the ornate ghostpipefish that Dama and Roney had found on Saturday. I looked all along the sand line to Big Rock and then all around Big Rock but couldn't find them. Mike caught up and looked, too. He continued past Big Rock while I kept up my search around Big Rock. I eventually gave up and started to look for pygmy pipehorses.

I didn't find the pygmy pipehorse low down to the north west of Big Rock but when I got to sloping rock I found the red male under a sponge. There's still a lot of snot algae on the rock and pretty much all the rocks at Kurnell. I turned on the lights in my strobes to help shed some light on the pygmy. It helped but after turning them off all my photos were dark.

As I came back along the reef I spotted a juvenile half-moon triggerfish. I took some photographs but they ended up a bit dark.

I swam back to Roney's widebody pipefish and my photos were still dark. I played with settings and eventually they came good. I still don't know what went wrong.

I headed back to Miamira Rock and the two pipefish in one alga. They were both still there. I didn't notice a wider body on one so I have to assume they were both males, unless the female only gets the wider body when breeding. Mike caught up to me and pointed out another Nembrotha purpureolineata nearby.

I looked around the area for more pipefish before we headed for the boulders for our safety stop. We were a fair way from Split Rock and with the outgoing current I finished my safety stop before reaching Split Rock. Once I reached Split Rock I headed for the exit. The exit was easy due to the low tide and calm waters. I waited for Mike and took his camera.


Mike Scotland




10 to 15 metres


94 minutes

Maximum depth

15.0 m

Average depth

11.5 m

Water temperature



Dive Profile from Citizen Hyper Aqualand

Tides at Botany Bay AEST

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.

Nudibranch, Nembrotha purpureolineata. 12.2 m.

Nudibranch, Nembrotha sp. 12.9 m.

Dwarf lionfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus. 12.1 m.

Weedy seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 13.2 m.

Male Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.5 m.

Widebody pipefish Stigmatopora sp. 11.3 m.

Widebody pipefish Stigmatopora sp. 11.1 m.

Widebody pipefish Stigmatopora sp. 12 m.

Widebody pipefish Stigmatopora sp. 12.1 m.

Male Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.8 m.

Reaper cuttlefish, Sepia mestus. 13.3 m.

Juvenile half-moon triggerfish, Sufflamen chrysopterus. 11.9 m.

Widebody pipefish Stigmatopora sp. 12 m.

Nudibranch, Nembrotha purpureolineata. 11.4 m.

Widebody pipefish Stigmatopora sp. 10.9 m.