Seahorse Garden

Seahorse Garden Location
Seahorse Garden
Hippocampus whitei (White's Seahorse) - Seahorse Garden
Hippocampus whitei (White's Seahorse) - Seahorse Garden
Filicampus tigris (Tiger Pipefish) - Seahorse Garden
Chromodoris collingwoodi (Collingwood's Chromodoris) - Seahorse Garden
Hypselodoris bennetti (Bennett's hypselodoris) - Seahorse Garden
Pleurobranchus peroni (Perons Pleurobranchus) - Seahorse Garden
Philinopsis lineolata (Lined Philinopsis) - Seahorse Garden
Polycera hedgpethi (Hedgepeth's Polycera) - Seahorse Garden
Tritonia sp (Carijoa Tritonia) - Seahorse Garden
Plocamopherus imperialis (Imperial Plocamopherus) - Seahorse Garden
Flabellina rubrolineata (Red-lined Flabellina) - Seahorse Garden
Chromodoris aureopurpurea (Gold-Spotted Chromodoris) - Seahorse Garden
Hypselodoris obscura (Obscure Hypselodoris) - Seahorse Garden
Diminovula bimaculata (Banded Egg Cowry) - Seahorse Garden
Cuspivolva draperi (Draper's Egg Cowry) - Seahorse Garden
Phenacovolva rosea (Rosy Spindle Cowry) - Seahorse Garden
Globovula cavanaghi (Cavanagh's Egg Cowry) - Seahorse Garden
Enneapterygius annulatus (Ring-scale Threefin) - Seahorse Garden
Vincentia novaehollandiae (Eastern Gobbleguts) - Seahorse Garden
Parapercis ramsayi (Spotted Grubfish) - Seahorse Garden
Lepidotrigla pleuracanthica (Eastern Spiny Gurnard) - Seahorse Garden
Cheilinus bimaculatus (Two-Spot Maori Wrasse) - Seahorse Garden
Batrachomoeus dubius (Eastern Frogfish) - Seahorse Garden
Thalamita sima (Four-lobed swimming crab) - Seahorse Garden
Hyastenus elastus (Decorator Crab) - Seahorse Garden
Pachycerianthus longistriatis - Seahorse Garden

The Seahorse Gardens is a site I have to thank David Harasti for introducing me to. Surprisingly, the Seahorses that give this site its name can sometimes be elusive, especially if you are a visiting diver from the ANUSC !! I remember the first time I dived the site, I am sure Dave knows exactly where all the Seahorses reside. I have not seen the Seahorses in such numbers since but am convinced it is a little about "getting your eye in".

This site is characterised by outcrops of sponges, soft coral and other fixed growth on a predominately sandy bottom. The growth is not as dramatic on this site as some others at Nelson Bay. It is truly is a critter spotters delight where you'll commonly find not only Seahorses but also Anglerfish, Nudibranchs, Cowries and plethora of other critters. Amongst the branches of the prevalent Giant Cauliflower soft corals, you will find the Seahorses as well as Basket Stars, Decorator Crabs and Cowries (Banded and Cavanagh's Egg Cowries). I have found the Anglerfish around the bases of the Giant Cauliflower soft corals.

There are two ways I commonly dive the site. The first is via entry directly across the road from the toilet block at Fly Point. You enter the water submerge and dive down to the 8m or so mark. Dive in a roughly south-westerly direction, toward the marina and stay at around the 8-10m contour. Closely search the branches of the cauliflower and other fixed growth as you go. I seek to enter the water about 2 hours before the high tide, this gives me a good 60 min dive followed by a 60 min surface interval before entering on the high tide for a second dive at another site.

The second way I dive is site is by starting the dive as a drift dive around Fly Point which is certainly a fun ride. This approach to drifting Fly Point is not really for new divers or those totally unfamiliar with the site. If for some reason you get lost on the site, don't surface in the channel or you might find yourself under a boat, but rather make your way into shallow water before surfacing.

I seek to enter the water up to 2.5 hours before the high tide and plan on this being a little longer than 60 min by the time you have done a drift and explored the Seahorse Gardens. You enter where you would enter to dive Fly Point, dive out around the point looking for critters as you go. The further you get into the channel the more subject to the current you will be. If you want a fast drift you can go deeper, but I tend to stay up less than 10m. Keep the Fly Point reef on your left hand side (going with the current) and eventually you will make it to the Western Wall of Fly Point that will be somewhat sheltered from the current and a great spot to fish watch. Many of the fish will be hanging around here seek shelter from the harsh current. The further you make your way around the point the reef will start to break down into outcrops and seagrass. The visibility will likely be much poorer here than on Fly Point, this is the stat of the Seahorse Gardens. You just dive along the 8-10m contour as described above.

You will likely come across some mooring blocks as you dive the site. These are a good place to find eels and other critters tucked away.

Once you have had enough, you simply turn around dive back around the contour and when you hit the sea grass or broken reef that looks like what you would see around Fly Point, you know it is time to head up the sand and exit at the beach where you started. A very simple dive to navigate.

You will find that visibility on this site is generally better as the high tide height gets above 1.4m . Lower than this and you can expect the Vis to be poor. The closer to high tide you can leave your dive, the better the Vis will be. Usually, by the time you get out an hour before high tide the Vis is greatly improved, a very cruel reality of diving this site at this time.

I can highly recommend the Seahorse Gardens as a great dive before doing Fly Point or another one of the Nelson Bay shore dives on the high tide. I would happily do it as a dive on high tide as well.