Dive Details



Sunday 8 July 2018


12:36pm - 2:31pm


The forecast today was for a 2-3m southerly swell. I knew that if it was truly a southerly that The Leap and The Steps would be well protected. There were also strong westerly winds like yesterday afternoon but these would have little effect on the underwater conditions and the surface water at The Leap and The Steps would be protected, anyway.

When I arrived at Kurnell, there were a lot of divers preparing to get in for their second dive at The Steps so I didn't even check it out and drove straight to The Leap. It looked fantastic there with barely any impact from the swell. I got in from the low platform which had the occasional small wave washing over it. I swam out on the surface before descending. I swam at around 45° to the sand line arriving at the amphitheatre. Visibility was at least 10 metres and water temperature around 16°C. There was very little surge. I spotted a young (probably male) weedy seadragon as soon as I arrived. I swam through to the sand line and turned left to head to The Steps.

I hadn't gone very far when I came across another weedy seadragon on the sand line. This looked like another male. Before I reached Seahorse Rock I found a third weedy seadragon. This one I recognised immediately as "Clyde", the male weedy seadragon who had a damaged head last year. It had been six weeks since I last saw "Clyde".

I continued past Seahorse Rock and on to the flat rocks with sponges. I found another male weedy seadragon between the two rocks. This was another male I recognised by the appendage on his snout.

I drifted with the current, which was quite strong, to the sand after Bent Stick Rock. Here I found a female weedy seadragon. She was the one with the small second appendage on her head.

I stopped at Southern Cross Rock to look for pygmy pipehorses. It was a little difficult to stay still against the current. I looked in all the usual places but could not find any pygmies.

I swam on to Seadragon Alley. I looked for the juvenile weedy seadragon in its usual location and found it close to the sand line hiding in the kelp. I expected to see more weedy seadragons in Seadragon Alley but found none.

At the end of Seadragon Alley I stopped in front of the rock with two sponges. The red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish was in its usual alga. I love seeing this one every time I dive here.

I continued on towards Big Rock and The Steps. About a third of the way between the end of Seadragon Alley and Big Rock I found another weedy seadragon, a male, I think. It continued feeding as I took photographs and did not seem to be too concerned.

I swam past Big Rock and had a brief look around the area for pygmies and anglerfishes before swimming up to the rock where the one-eyed seahorse has been. I swam around her rock 3 times before I finally spotted her on the northern side of the rock. I had now seen three species of syngnathid and just needed a pygmy pipehorse to make it four.

I continued past Sponge Hollow and on to New Basket Star Rock. I was expecting to see the grey red-fingered anglerfish at the base of the white honeycomb sponge, but it wasn't there. I searched all over New Basket Star Rock but couldn't find it. I started looking around some of the nearby rocks and found what I think was it on a rock back a bit towards The Leap. I also had a look in some of the red algae for red pipefish but found none.

I swam past the basket star in its latest location and on to Diversity Rock. I looked for the female pygmy pipehorse I'd seen on Thursday but couldn't find it. I did, however, find the juvenile I'd seen with Mike on the 27 June.

On the rock near Diversity Rock I found my baby painted anglerfish. It has hardly moved since I first found it. It doesn't seem to have grown much.

Shortly after the painted anglerfish I spotted a male weedy seadragon so heavily laden with eggs he was having trouble swimming. I think it takes a male weedy some time after accepting the eggs from a female to get used to the change in buoyancy and the impact it has on them swimming.

I swam on to Little Big Rock. I found the Nembrotha purpureolineata I'd seen on Thursday on the rock where the salmon red-fingered anglerfish had been. I then looked for the golden male pygmy pipehorse and a red pygmy that Daniela had mentioned to me just before the dive. I found neither.

I swam along the sand line looking for anglerfishes until I swam up to Di's Rock and again looked for the grey red-fingered anglerfish. I still couldn't find it. I headed back towards the sand line to the rock where "Noel" and "Di", the pair of pygmy pipehorses, have been. I scoured the rock and after around 5 minutes I found "Di". I couldn't find "Noel" on the rock. I hope he's still around.

I continued along the sand line to the area where the orange red-fingered anglerfish has been. I was surprised to spot it straight away this time. Sometimes it's easy to find, sometimes not.

I looked around the area for more weedy seadragons as I'd seen three here last time but I found none. I then headed for the boulders and ascended to 5 metres. I was almost at Split Rock already so I waited out my safety stop. I swam underwater to the exit and after watching what the swell was doing from underwater I swam into the gap and got out. It was an easy exit.




10 to 15 metres


115 minutes

Maximum depth

21.6 m

Average depth

13.7 m

Water temperature



Dive Profile from Garmin Descent Mk1

Tides at Botany Bay AEST

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