Dive Details



Saturday 5 January 2019


7:50am - 9:33am


Some surge and current


2 to 3 metres


103 minutes

Surface interval

22:41 (hh:mm)

Maximum depth

22.5 m

Average depth

16.2 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.














A week of north-easterly swells had resulted in cold green water. Yesterday at The Steps the visibility was only 2 to 3 metres and I wasn't expecting any better than that today. I was also expecting 16°C water so I'd be wearing my drysuit. I got to The Leap early as high tide was around 8:45am and I wanted to get as far as I could before the tide changed.

It wasn't all that rough but with the high tide approaching I didn't get in from the low platform and instead jumped in from the lower area of the shelf next to the low platform. I swam out on the surface before descending. The visibility on the surface was around 2-3 metres and I hoped it would improve as I descended but expected it probably wouldn't.

I descended and headed at around 60° towards the sand line. There was a bit of current so I had to keep correcting my heading. I arrived in the amphitheatre, although because of the low visibility I wasn't sure until I recognised the sponge covered flat top rock next to Pygmy Rock. The visibility was still 2-3 metres and it was very dark, almost like a night dive. The water temperature was 16°C. I immediately spotted a large red sea slug crawling across the sand. I took some video as it was too large to photograph.

I turned left and headed along the sand line towards The Steps. Being both dark and poor visibility I had to look closely at each rock to work out where I was. I came on the first rock in the Field of Pygmies that I have seen pygmies on. I went around to the side where the female (IL2018110201) has been lately. I found her almost straight away. I looked to the other side of the rock and spotted the male (IL2018110202). I headed to the other end of the rock and spotted the other male (IL2018110301) and then found his partner (IL2018110302) on the other side of the grey sponge. The surge made photography difficult.

I headed towards the shore to the next rock and looked for the pair I'd found there on Boxing Day. I found the red male (IL2018122602) and then I found the cryptic female (IL2018122601).

I looked on the next rock for the juvenile pygmy bt was not able to find it.

I headed back away from the shore to the rock where Matt Smith had found the male pygmy pipehorse on the 28th and the female I'd found on the 29th. I couldn't find either of them.

I went to the next rock to look for the two cryptic pygmies. I found the male (IL2018121101) and then his partner (IL2018121001).

I continued along the sand line a few more rocks, which was not easy due the poor visibility and found the rock where the small female has been. I found her (IL2018112401) straight away.

I swam on to Bob & Lucy Rock. I found the male pygmy (IL2018110204) first and then the female (IL2018110203). I didn't both to look for the juvenile which I haven't seen for a week or so.

I slowly continued along the sand line until I reached Ian's Pygmy Rock. I looked for the pair of pygmy pipehorses that I have seen there recently but could not see them. The current and surge made looking a little difficult. I looked on the adjacent rock and found the dull red male (IL2018120101). I looked for his partner but could not see her. I then looked more carefully on Ian's Pygmy Rock and found the pink male (IL2018122302). Inspired by finding him I looked for his partner and found her (IL2018122301).

I swam past Seahorse Rock and on to the low flat rocks with sponges. Visibility was still poor so I had to go under the overhang to see there were no weedy seadragons there. I looked in the gap between the low rocks and spotted "Clyde", the male weedy seadragon. I then looked in the kelp and spotted the other male weedy who still has eggs.

I headed up the rock above the weedies and found the pair of pygmy pipehorses in their usual spots on the algae: the male (IL2018080101) and the female (IL2018080102). I then looked lower for the other male (IL2018092903) and found him. What I didn't realise until I looked at my photographs that his partner (IL2018110303) was there with him.

I swam over the rocks past Southern Cross Rock and into Seadragon Alley. I stayed close enough to the bottom to spot any weedy seadragons in Seadragon Alley but was not able to spot any.

After Seadragon Alley I kept going just up from the sand line past the algae where the red Stigmatopora pipefish had been. I looked for them there but couldn't see them.

I swam on to Big Rock. I looked next to the pink sea tulip and spotted the two pygmy pipehorses (IL2019010401, IL2019010402) that Ron had found yesterday.

I headed over the base of the rock below Hand Rock and found the juvenile pygmy pipehorse (IL2018122402) and also the male (IL2018111001). I looked around for the female but was not able to find her. I also spotted the dwarf lionfish on the orange sponge. I looked on Hand Rock for the juvenile I have been seeing there but was not able to find it.

I swam along just up from the sand line looking for more pygmies. All I spotted was a juvenile eastern smooth boxfish before I got to Diversity Rock. I looked for the male weedy seadragon around Diversity Rock but could not see him. I swam up to the basket star before moving on.

I headed to Little Big Rock. I spotted the large yellow red-fingered anglerfish in its usual spot and then headed up to look for the seahorses. I couldn't find "Petra" at all. She was not on the sea tulips she was in yesterday. I did find "David" in the sea tulips on top of the rock.

I dropped down to the rock where Roney had told me about the sawtooth pipefish. They were both there.

I continued along the sand line. I didn't even bother to look in the hole where the other pipefish have been because of the poor visibility and swam on to the seahorses. I looked all around the rock but was not able to see "Jodi" or "Stephen". The small orange red-fingered anglerfish was in its usual spot.

I swam over the kelp and headed for the exit. I ascended to 5 metres and started my safety stop while I looked for Split Rock; I'd slightly overshot it. I finished my safety stop at Split Rock and swam underwater to the exit. The exit was quite easy.