Dive Details

Location

Date

Sunday 16 December 2018

Time

1:19pm - 2:59pm

Seas

Slight

Visibility

5 to 10 metres

Duration

100 minutes

Surface interval

1:05 (hh:mm)

Maximum depth

17.9 m

Average depth

12.2 m

Water temperature

17°C

                                       

Dive Profile from Garmin Descent Mk1

Tides at Botany Bay AEDT

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

High

3:47am

1.27m

Low

9:26am

0.76m

High

3:35pm

1.38m

Low

10:17pm

0.52m

Details

For my second dive I wanted to find the seahorses. There has been a female pot-bellied seahorse near the end of the Deep Wall since at least March this year. That was when I first saw her, others had seen her before me. I was told she's had a male with her for at least a month and I was keen to see them.

It was still calm around the island and I was able to get in with ease on the western side of the island. I swam out before descending and headed south-south-west towards the wall. When I reached the wall I dropped down to the large sponge and sea tulip covered rocks. The visibility was 5 to 10 metres and there was barely any current or surge. The water temperature was between 16 and 17°C.

After checking out the sponge and sea tulip covered rocks I swam westward along the wall. I stayed near the top so I wouldn't miss the spot where the female seahorse had been last time I saw her in May. With the visibility so good I found the spot without any problems but I could not see either seahorse. I checked out every sponge in the area but no seahorses. I spread my search wider and even checked on the edge of the wall and on the lower rock just out from the wall. Vicki told me later that they had been seen the previous day so were probably just hiding.

I continued westward until the wall petered out and swam over the area where the seahorses had been prior to the storm in 2015. I was looking for pygmy pipehorses as I went. I followed the reef until one of the channels and I followed it north. I swam out over the sand until I hit the shallow reef.


Eastern smooth boxfish, Anoplocapros inermis. 15.6 m.

I turned westward again and followed the reef to the corner and then turned north. I swam over the reef until I hit the northern side of the reef that flows west from the cave. I followed that reef east in front of the caves to the bottom of the slope.

I checked out the rock which has always been good for pygmies (including the white pair that were there for months) and spotted a golden female. I wondered if she was the same one that was there in July (but I couldn't find in October). I looked for a male but couldn't find one. I was very cold by now.


Female Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.8 m.


Female Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.9 m.


Dwarf lionfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus. 12.8 m.

I headed up the slope looking for pygmy pipehorses. I checked out areas I have seen them before and was pleased to find a female in a spot I've seen them before. I looked around for a male and found one 20-30 centimetres away.


Female Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 11.6 m.


Female Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 11.6 m.


Male Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 11.6 m.


Male Sydney pygmy pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 11.6 m.

I continued up the slope quite quickly as I'd gone into deco on my Shearwater but this cleared by the time I got to the top of the slope. I swam along in front of the boulders and ascended to 5 metres and started my safety stop before I got to the outboard motor.

I finished my safety stop and got put on the rocks near Carol's plaque.

Camera gear

Camera

Nikon D500

Lens

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

Housing

Ikelite 6812.5

Lens port

Ikelite Flat Port 5502.41

Strobe

2 x Ikelite SubStrobe DS161