Dive Details



Monday 12 March 2018


2:54pm - 4:03pm


Today's dive was to finally show Graham Short the red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish we'd be describing. The best way to see the only pair I currently know about is from The Leap. We'd have to move fairly quickly to ensure Graham had plenty of time with them and still have time for a comfortable second part of the dive. Both Graham and Jeroen had 15L tanks with Nitrox and I had my 300 bar 12L (with 250 bar of 27%). Conditions looked fantastic and much calmer than yesterday.

We all got in from the low platform and swam out on the surface. Once we were all ready, we descended and I led the three of us at around 0 degrees towards the sand line. We arrived just to the south east of Ian's Pygmy Rock where there's still a lot of kelp around. The visibility was around 5 metres but the water temperature was a chilly 17°C! There was some surge and current but neither were particularly strong. We turned left and headed for The Steps.

Before we reached Seahorse Rock I spotted a female weedy seadragon in the kelp. I looked around for "Clyde", the male weedy seadragon, who has been in the same area, but I could not spot him.

We continued on past Seahorse Rock and behind the flat rocks with sponges. I looked for weedy seadragons there but spotted none. I did spot one on the sand between Bent Stick Rock and Southern Cross Rock.

I had a quick look for pygmy pipehorses on the side of Southern Cross Rock but found none. I didn't want to spend too long there as we need to get to the pipefish. I found the black painted anglerfish on the rock after Southern Cross Rock and pointed it out to Graham.

We swam into Seadragon Alley and saw three weedy seadragons along the way. I also looked for the juvenile weedy I'd seen on Friday but could not find it.

After the end of Seadragon Alley I went to the location where the red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish have been. It was a huge relief to see them there. They were in the first alga. Graham finally got to see them in their natural habitat, rather than the two preserved specimens at the Australian Museum. We spent over 10 minutes with the pipefish photographing them and shooting video before moving on.

We came up a bit from the sand line as we headed for Big Rock but I spotted another weedy seadragon on the sand line so we headed back down to it.

We swam past Big Rock and on to the rock below Hand Rock. I had a look for the pygmy pipehorses there but couldn't see them. We went on to Square Rock where I pointed out the two white male pygmy pipehorses.

A little farther along I looked for and found the female White's seahorse with one eye on her usual rock. I pointed her out to Graham indicating she only had one eye. Jeroen caught up and we pointed her out to him. We also stopped at the Miamira magnifica nudibranch.

We swam past New Basket Star Rock and on to the sand where I have seen red pipefish before. We looked around but couldn't find any.

We continued past Diversity Rock and Little Big Rock. I looked for pygmies on the rock behind Little Big Rock but found none. Just past Little Big Rock we spotted two weedy seadragons swimming together. I took shots of each one.

I had a quick look for the grey red-fingered anglerfish but it has really gone. Graham was down to around 50 bar so we headed for the boulders. We ascended to 5 metres and started our safety stops while swimming to Split Rock. After finishing our safety stops we swam to the exit and got out. The tide was still low and the seas were relatively calm so it was an easy exit.


Graham, Jeroen


3 to 10 metres


69 minutes

Maximum depth

20.6 m

Average depth

13.5 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.