Dive Details

Location

Logged dive number

1739

Date

Thursday 2 January 2020

Time

10:56am - 1:08pm

Seas

Moderate current and slight surge

Visibility

2 to 10 metres

Duration

131 minutes

Surface interval

2 days 0:33 (days hh:mm)

Maximum depth

13.1 m

Average depth

10.4 m

Water temperature

20.0°C

                                       

Dive Profile from Citizen Hyper Aqualand

Tides at Botany Bay AEDT

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

High

2:10am

1.26m

Low

7:42am

0.74m

High

1:56pm

1.45m

Low

8:44pm

0.54m

Details

For my first dive of 2020 I decided to go to The Monument. It has been over three weeks since I last dived at The Monument and I was keen to check out Pygmy Playground but also the Pot-bellied Seahorses on the East-West Wall. I usually run out of time/air by the time I get to the seahorses so today I used a 15L tank to give me an extra 20 minutes or so.

I got in at the protected area between The Monument and The Steps and waded out to the edge of the platform before putting my fins on. I descended and swam to the sand line. The visibility looked very good at around 10 metres and the water temperature was between around 21°C. There was a moderate current and only slight surge.

I headed north-west along the sand line towards Sutherland Point. I was looking for Weedy Seadragons but found none. I stopped at Block Rock and had a good look on it and the adjacent sponge covered rock for seahorses and anything else of interest.

I continued to the deep wall. I headed along the wall to the square rock where the Dwarf Lionfish normally resides in the orange finger sponge. I couldn't see it there.

I looked on the side of the wall for pygmy pipehorses. I spotted a whiteish male hanging on to a purple sponge. I looked for others on the side of the rock but found none.

I moved onto the ledge in Pygmy Playground. I looked for pygmy pipehorses there. It took me a while before I found my first one and then I gradually found more. I eventually found 1 male, 2 females and 1 juvenile.

I looked along the sand line for Weedy Seadragons and found one male with eggs.

I went up over the wall to the area behind the wall. I looked for "Bob", the orange Painted Anglerfish. John had pointed it out to me 3 weeks ago. I found the sponge but could not find the anglerfish.

I headed along the reef to Slope Rock. I spotted a Reaper Cuttlefish near Slope Rock. I looked for pygmy pipehorses on Slope Rock and surrounding rocks but found none. I did find an octopus.

The visibility dropped to around 5 metres. I don't know why that happened as the tide was still incoming.

I looked for the orange Red-fingered Anglerfish I'd seen below Seahorse Rock on the last few dives but could not find it.

I swam up to Seahorse Rock to look for the Nembrotha sp. nudibranch but could not find it.

I dropped back down to the reef and had another look for the orange Red-fingered Anglerfish. A small group of divers swam up and were sort of hanging around me for the next 20 minutes or so.

I swam over Split Rock and looked on the next few rocks for pygmy pipehorses. I hadn't gone far past Split Rock when I spotted an orange Red-fingered Anglerfish. I took some photographs and then noticed a juvenile Eastern Smooth Boxfish nearby.

I continued along the reef to the rock with the Dendronephthya soft coral colony where a pair of pink pygmy pipehorses had been. Most of the soft coral had gone. It looked like it had been ripped off the rock. I couldn't find the pygmy pipehorses either. I also looked around for the grey Red-fingered Anglerfish but could not find it. The other divers swam off at this point. The visibility was now around 3 metres.

I headed down towards Valley of the Pygmies. I hadn't seen any pygmies here in months but was ever hopeful. I found none in the valley but spotted a white female pygmy on the side of the "castle". I looked near the female and found a cryptic male. I looked around the rock for more pygmies but instead found a Dwarf Lionfish and a small Painted Stinkfish.

I swam along the NW-SE Wall and then up to the corner and the start of the East-West Wall. I looked for Red-fingered Anglerfish in the spots I have seen them recently but there must have moved.

I checked out the shelf at the start of the East-West Wall and was surprised to find an orange Red-fingered Anglerfish. I looked for pygmy pipehorses but found none.

I headed along the base of the East-West Wall to the rock where "Tim" and "Jose", the Pot-bellied Seahorses, have been. Both "Tim" and "Jose" were together between the white honeycomb sponge and the orange finger sponge. I took some photographs and then because I still had a lot more gas left I hunted around for a female. I've not had that luxury before. I was thrilled to find a female (who I will call "Gracie") in a sponge on a nearby rock. It made a lot more sense that "Tim" and "Jose" would hang around if there was a female.

I still had some gas left so I continued along the wall to look for "Naomi", the yellow White's Seahorse. I looked in all finger sponges in the area but could not find "Naomi". I did spot another juvenile Eastern Smooth Boxfish and a small Green Moray.

I headed up the wall and then swam west along the top of the wall to the break in the kelp and then headed south. I was doing my safety stop as I went.

I started to swim over the kelp but had to stop abruptly when I nearly swam into the tail of a very large stingray. I backed up and went around it. I kept heading south until it was too shallow and I waded out.