Dive Details



Saturday 10 November 2018


7:50am - 9:06am


Elena Markushina, Dave Baxter




10 to 20 metres


76 minutes

Surface interval

161:26 (hh:mm)

Maximum depth

21.6 m

Average depth

15.6 m

Water temperature



Dive Profile from Garmin Descent Mk1

Tides at Botany Bay AEDT

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














Today I was doing a double dive with Dave and Elena. Dave wanted to see pygmy pipehorses and Elena wanted to see nudibranchs but was happy with anything interesting. I had originally planned to take them to The Monument today but a triathlon starting and finishing at The Monument meant that The Leap was the only place we could dive in the park. It also meant getting to the park before 7am. I lent them 15L cylinders with Nitrox because it is a long deep dive. I went with my 12L with Nitrox but also carried my pony in case they were better than me on their air.

We got in from the low platform, which was easy due to the height of the tide, and swam out on the surface before descending. We descended and swam at around 45° towards the sand line. As we approached the sand line I had a feeling we were too far north-west so I angled a bit more eastward and we ended up right at the rock where the 2 pairs of pygmy pipehorses are. The visibility was 15 to 20 metres and there was no surge. The current wasn't noticeable and the water temperature was around 16°C.

I found the newer pair of pygmy pipehorses at the shoreward end of the rock and pointed them out to Dave. He squealed when he saw them. He showed them to Elena. While he was photographing them I went looking for the original pair. I found the male first and it took me a minute to find the female. I also showed them to Dave.

I left Dave and Elena to photograph the first lot of pygmy pipehorses while I looked around on the adjacent rocks for more. When they were done we moved on to Bob and Lucy Rock to find the next pair. This time I saw the male first and then found the female. After taking a few photographs I left them to Dave and Elena and looked around the adjacent rocks for more.

We moved slowly towards Seahorse Rock. While looking for more pygmy pipehorses I found a pair of sea spiders. I don't find sea spiders all that often but when I do it is usually while looking for pygmy pipehorses. I showed them to Dave and Elena but Elena was not happy about them.

We swam past Seahorse Rock and on to the flat rocks with sponges. I went on ahead to try to hurry the others up as it's a long dive and we couldn't go too slowly. I found the two weedy seadragons under the overhang, one the male with eggs. I was able to photograph both the weedies before Dave and Elena caught up. I pointed the weedies out to them and then swam up to the pygmy pipehorses.

I found the upper pair of pygmy pipehorses first as they were pretty much in the same place they were last Saturday. I then located the lower male and eventually the lower female who was 10-20 centimetres from the male.

We stayed high and swam over Southern Cross Rock and on to Seadragon Alley. In Seadragon Alley I found the juvenile weedy seadragon and pointed it out to the others.

We continued to the end of Seadragon Alley and I pointed out the dwarf lionfish on the red chimney sponge.

We really needed to get a move on. Fortunately, there was a bit of current which helped us move more quickly along the sand line. We stopped at the alga where I last saw the red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish but I could not see them there.

From here we ascended to the top of the reef and headed along above Big Rock. We continued along the top of the reef to the basket star. We didn't have time to look for the male weedy seadragon with eggs near Diversity Rock but we'd be diving The Steps for the second dive so I wasn't too worried.

We swam past Little Big Rock and I pointed out the salmon red-fingered anglerfish. We continued along the sand line past the hole where the pipefishes have been but I couldn't see them. We stopped briefly to look for the seahorse but I couldn't see them.

We headed for the boulders and I looked for the orange red-fingered anglerfish with dark eyes on the way but couldn't see it. We ascended to 5 metres. I slightly overshot Split Rock and we swam back to it. We did our safety stop and then swam underwater to the exit. I got out first, put my camera and fins down and then helped the others out.