Weedy Sea Dragons! That’s what the diving at Kurnell is well known for and I got to see a few today!

I haven’t dived there in a few years and decided that it was long overdue for a visit. With the tides being right today (you need to do the dive on an incoming tide, otherwise it would be a drift dive out to sea), a group of us headed down to Kurnell National Park to dive at a site known as “The Leap”. Our group today consisted of Darren, Scott, Avril, Todd and Raphael. The weather was nice and sunny and the water was warm, visibility was good too, making it perfect diving conditions.

The dive site got its name because it requires a Giant Leap to get into the water. The jump isn’t that high, but it looks high. I reckon it’s only a 3m jump into the water. However the waves can pick up and be crashing onto the rocks at times so you need to time the jump into the water right and quickly swim out to sea once in the water to avoid being smashed into the wall. As you can see from the photo below, conditions were perfect with the waters being quite calm.

Scuba Diving at Kurnell – The Leap

As I have mentioned, this site is well known for weedy sea dragons. I have read trip reports where divers have seen up to 25 sea dragons in a single dive!!! So we know they are out there, the challenge is finding them. Weedy Sea Dragons are quite small, they don’t move fast and they blend in very well in the kelp. At the initial part of the dive, there were quite a lot of kelp patches everywhere and I was trying really hard to spot a sea dragon. However I had no such luck and when the underwater topology changed from being a kelp bottom to a more rocky and sandy bottom, I was feeling a little uncertain as to whether I would be spotting any weedy sea dragons today. However luck would have it that I saw a really cool starfish to photograph and when I swam close, there was a weedy sea dragon close to it!!! I signaled (or yelled underwater) to Avril and got her attention and when she was photographing that sea dragon, I spotted a second weedy sea dragon not far from the first!!!

The photos above were taken with the camera flash turned on so the colours of the weedy sea dragon looked very distinct. To give you a perspective of how well camouflaged they can be in the kelp, I took another photo with the flash disabled. Take a look at it below and click on the image to view the larger version. They are pretty hard to spot. However as they are slow (pretty much hopeless) swimmers, they are perfect underwater photography subjects.

Some other notable aquatic creatures we saw during this dive included two baby cuttlefish, a swimming wobbegong shark (I seldom see them swimming, they are usually just resting on the bottom) and a couple of curious Blue Eastern Gropers. I call them curious as there was one instance when Avril and I were trying to take photos of a school of fish and this blue eastern groper kept swimming up to the camera and getting into our shot. Maybe it just wanted some attention. Also I thought I should throw some random fact into this post and say that for Blue Eastern Gropers, it’s only the male that are blue in colour. Females are reddish brown.

Baby cuttlefish
Blue Eastern Grouper

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