During our dive/road trip from Brisbane to Adelaide with a trip over to Tasmania we spent several days in Sydney catching up with friends and diving. Firstly we visited Bare Island, which was used in the Mission Impossible 2 movie, where four of us did a dive off the west side of the island. We were in search of the Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse (Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri) but sadly didn't manage to find any. There were heaps of great nudibranchs though.
Next we did a couple of shore dives in Chowder Bay (also known as Clifton Gardens), which I had been recommended as being a great shore dive. We hired tanks from the friendly folk at Plunge Dive, located in an old barracks next to the dive site. I had hoped to see seahorses here but Peter, the owner of Plunge, mentioned that people have been seen taking them from the area for the aquarium trade and only a few remain these days. We did spot one White's seahorse (Hippocampus whitei), plenty of cuttlefish, pipefish, Sydney octopus and a numb ray. However, the highlight was finding three Hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus), two beige and one yellowish. These animals are rare at the best of times so it was great to see so many in one spot!
Luckily, in September 2011 I was able to dive Bare Island again. Thanks to the eagle eyed Nick Missenden of Sydney Dive Academy, we finally were able to see a Sydney Pygmy Pipehorse (Idiotropiscis lumnitzeri). Nick found the little beauty, around 5 cm long, at around 8 m off the western side of Bare Island on a large rock. The filaments that covered its body made it almost invisible to the untrained eye. It was even difficult compared to pygmy seahorses, even though it was much larger! Thanks again Nick!