Dive at The Steps, Kurnell, NSW on 17/11/13 - ATJ's Diving Site

Dive Details



17 November, 2013


7:45am - 9:06am


This was a pretty miserable dive for me. It had some highlights but was overshadowed by the lowlights. It was never going to be great with the rain and the rising seas but I was keen to give it a go.

Things were not going well even before we hit the water. We had planned to dive at The Monument but there was a triathlon on and it was not possible to drive down to the car park there so we switched to The Steps with the idea of drifting down to The Monument and walking back to The Steps. Conditions at The Steps when we arrived were less than ideal but a safe entry was definitely possible.

By the time we'd got ready and down to the entry point the swell had already picked up making the entry heavily reliant on timing between the sets of larger waves. After a few minor brushes with large waves we managed to get in without incident.

After getting our breath back we descended to the sand line. This is where I really screwed up. I started heading across the sand to try to cut the corner to where the kelp pretty much ends. I was mindful of the direction I was travelling but did not have a compass. I tried to keep veering to the left to keep in touch with the kelp but instead veered right. With the visibility down to 3-4 metres I quickly lost touch with the kelp and started heading out into the bay. I then ignored my buddy, who had a compass, and got completely separated and lost on the sand. I then took stock of the surged and started to swim with it, but was facing the wrong way and ended up in a worse situation. Eventually, I came to my senses and surfaced, with my SMB inflated. I was now almost 100 metres from the shore and started the long swim back. Close to the shore I waited to see if my buddy would surface but then figured she'd gone on to wait for me along the reef so I descended to the reef again and this time kept on it and headed to The Monument. I was pretty annoyed and grumpy at this point.

The visibility at the edge of the reef was down to around 3 metres with a lot of surge and the surge was picking up the sand and keeping it in the water column. I found a weedy seadragon but had a lot of troubles trying to photograph it (as can be seen from the result). The biggest problem was getting the camera to focus on the weedy rather than the sand and other particulate matter in front of it. This did not improve my mood.

I moved on to the rock where we see "Little Sebastien", the tiny painted angler, and found it pretty quickly. It was in a good spot for photography and so I was feeling a little better. That was until I tried to take photos and the surge moved up a notch buffeting me and the camera, as well as dumping sand all over "Little Seb". It was so frustrating.

I continued on and just after the wall I swam into my buddy who was not very happy with me. I tried to explain as best I could under the water where I had been and that I had actually been waiting on the surface for her. Anyway, she had managed to find an orange form undescribed angler which was probably "Oliver" and then further along found another which we assume is "Jean". We then searched all around split rock for "Beverley" but could not found that angler. Of course it is possible that the one we thought was "Jean" was "Beverley" and there really aren't any distinguishing features.

We then went over to the wall to look for "Lesley", the tiny red painted angler, but could not find it. We followed the wall down looking for seahorses and found none. We went up the wall at the end to look for the tiny painted angler that used to be there but could not find it either.

We were both getting low on air so headed up to the shallow wall and swam along the top of it around the corner doing our safety stop along the way. We exited on the rocks to the east of the beach.

Postscript: I now have a compass again so I shouldn't cock up like that again.


Sheree Papuni


Rough and surgy


3-5 metres


72 minutes

Maximum depth

14.8 m

Average depth

10.0 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 Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D


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. 11.8 m.

Tiny painted angler, Antennarius pictus, ("Little Sebastien"). 12 m.

Undescribed angler (probably "Oliver"). 10.6 m.

Undescribed angler (probably "Jean"). 12.1 m.