Dive Details


Logged dive number



Tuesday 20 April 2021


11:15am - 1:09pm


Matt Testoni


Slight current and almost no surge


4 to 8 metres


114 minutes

Surface interval

1 day 23:0 (days hh:mm)

Maximum depth

14.6 m

Average depth

11.6 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.














Today's dive was to show Matt Testoni some pygmy pipehorses. Matt is an underwater photographer from Melbourne. He hosts a podcast on marine organisms and interviewed me last year about pygmy pipehorses. Today would be his opportunity to finally see them in person.

Conditions were slowly improving with Sunday being better than Saturday. I was hopeful that today would be a but better again. It certainly looked good from the surface.

We jumped in at The Steps and swam out on the surface. We descended to the edge of the boulders. The visibility looked slightly better than Sunday and a lot better than Saturday. It was probably around 5 metres on the sand near the entry/exit. The water temperature was around 20°C. The surge was gentle. I was excited for a good dive.

We veered to the left, around the rocks and isolated kelp and then turned right. We swam over Baby's location. I had a look for Baby as we went but I did not see them.

We continued to the next kelp patch and I looked for PJ's baby. I wasn't looking for long when I spotted them. They were close to the sand so I was able to get some nice identification shots. I took just enough shots and then let Matt have a go. While he was photographing PJ's baby I looked on some of the nearby rocks for pygmies but found none.

We started along the sand line. I stopped at the rocks not far before Jodi's Rock. I'd see three pygmies here on Sunday so I was hopeful for at least one. I couldn't find the cryptic female but I did find the juvenile I'd spotted on Sunday. I took a few shots of it and then let Matt have a go. I continued to look over the rocks for others. I eventually spotted the dark male. I was able to take some photographs while Matt was with the juvenile. I then pointed out the male.

We continued along the sand line and spotted the school of Striped Catfish just before Jodi's Rock. On the other side of Jodi's Rock I spotted an adult Weedy Seadragon. It has been a while since I've seen any adults.

We followed the sand line to Pipefishes Hole. I headed up to the pair of Red Wide-bodied Pipefish before reaching Pipefishes Hole. The pipefish were in separate algae so I took a few quick photographs of them before pointing them out to Matt. While Matt was with the Red Wide-bodied Pipefish, I swam down and looked in the hole but could not see any pipefishes. I popped up to Noel&Di's Rock to look for Cam. I found him out in the open on the rock. I looked for Lily but could not find her. I then noticed a male pygmy near the yellow sponges o the Little Big Rock side of the rock. I pointed Cam and the pygmy out to Matt.

When Matt had finished we headed up to Di's Rock. I suspected Lily would be there if she wasn't on Noel&Di's Rock. She was there. I took some photographs and pointed her out to Matt.

We next headed to Lily's Rock. I looked for Tom Thumb but could not see him on the rock. I looked in the kelp on Di's Rock side of Lily's Rock and spotted him there. He was difficult to photograph with the kelp there. I held the kelp out of the way for Matt. Just past Lily's Rock, towards the sand closer to the shore I spotted another adult Weedy Seadragon.

We headed slowly to the sand line and then along the sand line towards Little Big Rock. I stopped at the rock with up to four pygmies. I spotted the red male in his usual spot, took some photographs and pointed him out to Matt. While Matt was busy with him I looked for others. I found the other male near the yellow sponge and the grey sponge. I looked for the females but could not see them. I'd shown one of the females to Matt Smith and Parham yesterday but could not see her today.

I left Matt with the pygmies and headed close to Little Big Rock to the solitary make Red Wide-bodied Pipefish. He was in the alga near the kelp. I took a few photographs and then went to look for the Red Pipefish. I'd seen it on both Saturday and Sunday and was unsure it would still be there. I looked carefully in the algal clump I'd last seen it in and it was still there. I was ecstatic! This was the third time I'd seen this individual. I took some photographs of the Red Pipefish. When Matt swam up I pointed out both pipefishes but the Red Pipefish moved to a different alga so I stopped with the photographs. I'm hopeful it will be still around next time I dive.

While Matt was with the Red Wide-bodied Pipefish I headed up to Skye's Rock and I spotted a pair of Mourning Cuttlefish on the way. I found Little Richard and Tiny Tim in the sea tulips on the side of the rock. Helen was on the area to the east of the rock. When Matt swam up I pointed them out to him.

Matt was photographing the seahorses and I looked around the adjacent rocks for pygmies. I was surprised to spot a red male on the rock to the west, out in the open. I looked around and spotted a cryptic female hiding below the male. I took some photographs and pointed them out to Matt when he swam over. I headed back to the seahorses and looked on some of the surrounding rocks for more pygmies.

We swam over the reef towards the basket start. I stopped at the rock behind Diversity Rock to look for the pygmies there. I had seen the male Saturday and Sunday but could not find him today. I haven't seen the female for a few dives now.

We continued past the basket star and on to the area where Ash has been. I hadn't seen them for the last three dives but Mark had told me on Sunday that he had seen them on a red chimney sponge. The one they used to be on is now gone so I headed to the sand towards the shore to a rock where I have previously seen them. They were there today. I took some photographs and showed Matt.

We headed towards the sand line and to the rock that had the two pink pygmies last year. I looked for the female pygmy on that rock. I'd seen her on Saturday but not Sunday. I couldn't find her today.

We started back towards The Steps along the sand line. We stopped below Diversity Rock and I looked for the juvenile Weedy there. I'd seen them on Thursday but not Saturday or Sunday and I couldn't find them again today.

We continued along the sand line. Just before Little Big Rock I spotted a small Painted Stinkfish. I took a few photographs and pointed it out to Matt.

On the other side of Little Big Rock I stopped briefly with the solitary male Red Wide-bodied Pipefish that was still in the same alga. I didn't look for the Red Pipefish as I didn't want to disturb it any more than I already had.

We followed the sand line to Pipefishes Hole. I spotted a Sawtooth Pipefish just outside the hole but it moved into the hole too quickly for me to photograph. We stopped briefly with the pair of Red Wide-bodied Pipefish.

We continued along the sand line past Jodi's Rock and into the kelp. I was mindful that Matt was getting low on air but had a quick look for Baby as we swam over their area but I couldn't see them. As we were heading to the boulders I spotted a juvenile Weedy I had not seen before. It is smaller than PJ's baby. It will be interesting if I can find them again.

We continued to the boulders and ascended. The juvenile Weedy had thrown me off and I missed Split Rock. We swam around a bit doing our safety stops until I found it. We finished our safety stops. Matt surfaced and I swam underwater to the exit. We got out on the shelf where is was calm.