Dive Details



Saturday 20 January 2018


8:42am - 10:07am


It had been a week since I last dived. Sydney had been hit by big seas for the week plus I had been working Tuesday through Thursday. I resisted the urge to dive on Friday to give time for conditions to improve. Mike met me at The Steps and we really weren't sure what it would be like. It actually looked very good from the shore.

We got in at The Steps and after swimming out we descended to the sand line. Visibility was surprisingly good at at least 5 metres and probably closer to 10 metres. It was also quite calm with no surge and the incoming current was not very strong. The water temperature was just over 21°C. We turned right and headed towards Big Rock.

We swam along the sand line. We arrived at the alga where I have been seeing a pair of red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish for some time now. I looked in the alga and they were not there. I have to assume they were affected by the rough weather, although they have been missing a couple of times before only to turn up on the next dive.

We continued along the sand line to the rock with the large orange finger sponge. Here I found a Nembrotha purpureolineata laying eggs.

We swam on towards Little Big Rock. At the first of the series of three rocks where Roney found a black painted anglerfish some months ago, I spotted an orange red-fingered anglerfish. It was the large one that had been in the green sponge up high behind Little Big Rock. It must have been washed along by the big swell. I pointed it out to Mike before continuing on.

I went up to the rock where the big orange red-fingered anglerfish had been to confirm it was no longer there, before heading back down to the rock where the other anglerfishes had been. I started looking for the pygmy pipehorses there when I spotted a black and grey striped sea spider. It is not often I see sea spiders so this was pretty exciting. After I'd taken photos of the sea spider I looked for the pygmy pipehorses and found the male. When Mike came up I pointed out the sea spider.

I left Mike with the sea spider and continued on to check on the single red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish on the sand near New Basket Star Rock. I was very pleased when I saw it was still there and had not been affected by the rough weather.

I swam past the basket star and caught up with Mike as we headed to Big Rock. I found the black painted angler on the substrate below the rock below Hand Rock. I then swam over to Big Rock where I found the greenish male pygmy pipehorse near the single sea tulip. I looked around for the female but I could not find her. I hadn't seen her on Big Rock last time I was here a week ago so I don't think it was the storm. I left Mike at Big Rock.

I continued on to the rock with the big red male pygmy pipehorse and three others. I only managed to find the large male.

I headed farther towards The Leap to look for the great seahorse and the other red pipefish. I found the great seahorse but the red pipefish were not in the algae I've seen them in before. I made a quick trip to the pair of pygmy pipehorses and I found them together where the male has been for some time. Sue and George swam up so I pointed them out before heading back towards The Steps.

I swam fairly quickly as I was running low on air. I stopped briefly at the rock behind Little Big Rock and took some more photographs of the sea spider. I also stopped at the large orange red-fingered anglerfish which had moved since the beginning of the dive. Finally I stopped at the Nembrotha purpureolineata nudibranch before heading for the boulders.

I ascended to 5 metres at the boulders and started my safety stop as I swam to Split Rock. I finished my safety stop at Split Rock and then swam to the exit and got out.


Mike Scotland




5 to 10 metres


85 minutes

Maximum depth

16.9 m

Average depth

12.1 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.













Species Seen



Common name






Antennarius pictus

Painted anglerfish



Porophryne erythrodactylus

Red-fingered anglerfish





Hippocampus kelloggi

Great seahorse



Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri

Sydney pygmy pipehorse



Stigmatopora sp.

Red widebody pipefish






Mourning cuttlefish





Nembrotha purpureolineata