Dive Details

Location

Logged dive number

1727

Date

Sunday 24 November 2019

Time

2:36pm - 4:07pm

Buddy

Dom Fretz

Seas

Strong current and some surge

Visibility

5 to 10 metres

Duration

91 minutes

Surface interval

23:08 (hh:mm)

Maximum depth

13.7 m

Average depth

11.0 m

Water temperature

19.0°C

                                       

Dive Profile from Citizen Hyper Aqualand

Tides at Botany Bay AEDT

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

Low

12:46am

0.29m

High

7:08am

1.69m

Low

1:24pm

0.37m

High

7:25pm

1.59m

Details

Today Mandy was going to come with us to The Monument and show us Pygmy Playground but unfortunately she pulled out at the last minute. Dom and I decided to dive The Steps instead as we'd already dived The Monument yesterday and were unlikely to find anything new. I was part way through setting up my gear when we decided to move to The Steps and I forgot to put in the 4kg of trim weight - but didn't realise until we were already in the water.

The tide was still very low and we had to wade out through the channel. When we were ready we descended and to the boulders and swam to the sand line. The visibility here was around 5 metres and the incoming tidal current was very strong. The water temperature was around 19°C.

We headed along the sand line towards Big Rock. We hadn't gone very far when I came across a Weedy Seadragon in the kelp. It was a little difficult to photograph because of the kelp and the current.


Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 10.6m.


Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 10.3m.

We swam over the large rock where the seahorses had been last year and then continued along the sand line to Pipefishes Hole. I was expecting to see "Teardrop", the male Weedy Seadragon with eggs, but we arrived at Pipefishes Hole without seeing him. I looked in the hole and could only see the Upside-down Pipefish. I could not see the Sawtooth Pipefish. I took some photographs of the Upside-down Pipefish before telling Dom to look in the hole.


Upside-down Pipefish, Heraldia nocturna. 12m.

I looked around the next kelp patch for "Teardrop" and found him there. I took some photographs before fighting the current towards Little Big Rock.


Eggs on the tail of a male Weedy seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, ("Teardrop"). 12.2m.


Weedy seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, ("Teardrop"). 12.1m.


Weedy seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, ("Teardrop"). 11.9m.

I spotted another Weedy Seadragon before we got to Little Big Rock.


Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 12.5m.


Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 12.4m.

I swam up to the large rock behind Little Big Rock and found "David", the Pot-bellied Seahorse low down in the sea tulips at the south-eastern side of the rock, where "George" normally is. I couldn't see "George" there. I pointed "David" out to Dom and then looked around for "Skye". I finally found her on the low rock on the sand where I had seen her last Sunday.


Male Pot-bellied Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, ("David"). 11m.


Male Pot-bellied Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, ("David"). 11m.


Female Pot-Bellied Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, ("Skye"). 11.1m.

Dom was photographing something down near Little Big Rock so I swam down to investigate. There was an Eastern Cleaner Clingfish in the kelp. After Dom left to photograph the seahorses, I took some photographs of the clingfish.


Eastern Cleaner Clingfish, Cochleoceps orientalis. 12.1m.


Eastern Cleaner Clingfish, Cochleoceps orientalis. 12.3m.

I headed back up to the large rock to look for "George". I eventually spotted him near "David". I took some photographs and pointed him out to Dom.


Male Pot-bellied Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, ("George"). 10.9m.


Male Pot-bellied Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, ("George"). 10.9m.

We swam towards the basket star. It was tough going due to the current. I spotted a small Green Moray hiding in a sponge.


Green Moray, Gymnothorax prasinus. 10.9m.

As we got closer to the rocks behind Diversity Rock I had a bit of a look for the black Painted Anglerfish. I didn't see it and was nearly at the basket star when Dom called me back. He'd spotted it.


Painted Anglerfish, Antennarius pictus. 11.2m.

We continued to the basket star and then down to Diversity Rock. The visibility was now around 10 metres and I spotted the Miamira magnifica nudibranch from 5 metres away. I took some photographs and pointed it out to Dom.


Basket star, Astrosierra amblyconus. 11.1m.


Nudibranch, Miamira magnifica. 12.7m.


Nudibranch, Miamira magnifica. 12.6m.

I continued along the reef towards Big Rock. I looked on the rock where I found the red male pygmy pipehorse 2 weeks ago but I was not able to find it today.

We fought the current past Sponge Hollow and on to the pair of pink pygmy pipehorses. I found the male straight away. He was hiding but in the same spot I saw him last week. I pointed him out to Dom while I looked for the female. I found her on top of the rock.


Male Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri, (IL2019100601). 12.6m.


Female Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri, (IL2019100503). 12.3m.

I went on ahead to the Doughboy Scallop. Unfortunately, it closed when I went to photograph it.


Doughboy Scallop, Mimachlamys asperrima. 13.2m.

I continued to the long rock and looked for the pair of pygmies there. I found the male but the current was ridiculous and it made photography difficult. While I looked for a female I spotted a Reaper Cuttlefish. I never found the female. When Dom swam up I pointed out the male pygmy.


Reaper Cuttlefish, Sepia mestus. 12.7m.


Male Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri, (IL2019100502). 13.2m.

I headed up the reef to the rock where Mike had shown me the orange Red-fingered Anglerfish last Sunday. It was in the same hole. Dom swam up and I showed him.


Red-fingered Anglerfish, Porophryne erythrodactylus. 11.7m.

I wanted to find "Ouz", the yellow White's Seahorse I'd found a few weeks ago, so I fought the current to Big Rock. She wasn't where I had last seen her so I checked the surrounding sponges and found her. I pointed her out to Dom.


Female White's Seahorse, Hippocampus whitei, ("Ouz"). 13.1m.


Female White's Seahorse, Hippocampus whitei, ("Ouz"). 13.1m.

We turned and headed back to The Steps. The current was so strong we didn't have to swim at all.

We drifted back to the orange anglerfish and noticed that it had turned around. I then visited to pink female pygmy, the Miamira magnifica nudibranch, and the black anglerfish on my way to the seahorses. It was so easy drifting with the current we went quickly.


Red-fingered Anglerfish, Porophryne erythrodactylus. 11.7m.


Nudibranch, Miamira magnifica. 12.8m.

The two male seahorses were sort of together. I looked for "Skye" but she had moved from the rock on the sand. Dom spotted her on the low rock in front of the large rock. He then signalled that he had to leave. I still had air left, although I didn't want to go to low as I had 4kg less weight.


Female Pot-Bellied Seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis, ("Skye"). 11.3m.

I drifted along the top of the reef looking for anglerfishes. When I got to Di's Rock I dropped back down to Pipefishes Hole to see if the Sawtooth Pipefish was there. Only the Upside-down Pipefish was visible.

I drifted along the sand line to the last large rock and then cut up to the sponge covered rocks near the entry/exit. I had a quick look for anglerfishes before heading to Split Rock and doing my safety stop. I had to dump all the air from my drysuit to stay at 5 metres.

I finished my safety stop and swam underwater to the exit. Dom was waiting to help me out.

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(s)

2 x Ikelite SubStrobe DS161