Dive Details


Logged dive number



Sunday 28 June 2020


12:39pm - 1:46pm


Carl Fallon, Matt Smith, Brett Lobwein


Some current and surge


10 to 15 metres


67 minutes

Surface interval

1 day 1:50 (days hh:mm)

Maximum depth

15.6 m

Average depth

12.1 m

Water temperature



Dive Profile from Citizen Hyper Aqualand

Tides at Botany Bay AEST

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














Today I was invited out on Abyss Project, a new boat built by the team at Abyss for both research and eco dives. I was honoured to be included. I already knew a number of others on the boat, including Dave Booth, plus Matt, Brett and Carl who would dive. The trip was more of a celebration but four of us would slip a dive in. We had hoped to go to Baron's Hut or Henry Head but there was a fairly large southerly swell which meant we needed somewhere protected. We ended up at The Steps. We would only do a short dive as there were a number of people on the boat that weren't diving. The boat was going to drop us off and then some back in and hour to pick us up so the boat could sit in calmer waters in the mean time.

We jumped in and when we were ready we descended. I wasn't sure where we'd end up but as soon as we descended I recognised the top of Big Rock. We were on the sand on the shoreward side of Big Rock. The visibility was 10 to 15 metres. There was some current from the incoming tide and a small amount of surge. The water temperature was just over 17°C.

I led the others south-east along the reef. I knew there was at least one male Weedy Seadragon with eggs that I could show them. On Thursday I had seen a pair of Weedy Seadragons together and I was hoping that there might be another male with eggs. I also wanted to show Carl the red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish.

I found the male Weedy with eggs I had seen on Thursday and took some photographs and the pointed it out to the others. Both Matt and Brett were set up for wide-angle so it was a perfect subject for them.

Eggs on the tail of a male Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 14.3 m.

Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 14.3m.

I looked around for the pair I'd seen on Thursday but could not find them. I did find another male (not the same one from Thursday) but it didn't have eggs. The male on Thursday was the one that was missing the end of its tail.

Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 13.2m.

Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. 13.4m.

I headed slowly north-west with the current, still in search of the other pair of weedies but could not find them. I looked around for the others but they hadn't followed me. I headed south-east again and found Matt and Brett near the Weedy Seadragons. I continued south-east and could just spit Carl's tank in the distance. I swam up to him and he was relieved to see me. He thought I'd continued towards The Leap.

As we were heading along the sand line I looked for and found the Nembrotha purpureolineata nudibranch. I took some photographs and pointed it out to Carl.

Nudibranch, Nembrotha purpureolineata. 15.2m.

We headed up to the red Stigmatopora sp. pipefish but it was gone. The alga it was in was much smaller than it had been on Thursday.

Red alga, Gracilaria sp. 13m.

I then looked for the small orange Painted Anglerfish that Natalia found last Saturday and I had seen on Thursday but I could not find it.

We continued north-west along the reef, above Big Rock, past Slope Rock and Long Rock and on to the next rock where I have been seeing pygmy pipehorses of late. I found the juvenile on the lower part of the rock and pointed it out to Carl. I then looked on top of the rock for the male. I found him. When Carl was finished with the juvenile, I pointed out the male. I pointed the male out to Brett, too, but he was set up for macro. Brett and Matt then continued on their own.

Juvenile Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 13.9m.

Male Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 13.4m.

We swam on to the next rock where I found the white male pygmy pipehorse. I pointed it out to Carl. I couldn't initially find the pink female so I looked on next rock and found the small red male there. I then had another look for the pink female on the previous rock and found her.

Male Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.9m.

Male Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 13m.

Female Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.6m.

We continued along the reef towards Diversity Rock. I found the small red female pygmy pipehorse and pointed it out to Carl. I looked around the area for the large grey Red-fingered Anglerfish but could not find it.

Female Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse, Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri. 12.9m.

We headed towards the basket star and I looked for the other Nembrotha purpureolineata nudibranch on the way. I couldn't find it. I showed the basket star to Carl.

Basket star, Astrosierra amblyconus. 11.5m.

We continued to the rock behind Little Big Rock where the Pot-bellied Seahorses had been until February. I looked for the large orange Red-fingered Anglerfish on the way but could not find it. "Ash", the large black Painted Anglerfish was in the red chimney sponge as usual. I spotted the octopus I often see on the next rock.

Painted Anglerfish, Antennarius pictus, ("Ash"). 11.6m.

Common Sydney Octopus, Octopus tetricus. 11.4m.

We headed along the top of the reef towards Di's Rock. The orange Red-fingered Anglerfish had moved to the other side of the rock. I pointed it to Carl.

Red-fingered Anglerfish, Porophryne erythrodactylus. 10.7m.

Red-fingered Anglerfish, Porophryne erythrodactylus. 10.7m.

We'd been in the water for an hour so I asked Carl if it was time to go. We headed towards the shore and ascended over the boulders and did our safety stop at 5 metres. We then surfaced. Just after we surface we spotted Matt and Brett and the boat making its way to pick us up.

Camera gear


Nikon D500


Nikon AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED


Ikelite 6812.5

Lens port

Ikelite Flat Port 5502.41


2 x Ikelite SubStrobe DS161