Photographer captures rare image of hairy ghost pipefish

By Australian Geographic 12 May 2021
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Lucky find! A diver has spotted a hairy ghost pipefish on the Great Barrier Reef.

Meet Harry the hairy ghost pipefish, affectionately named by local Queensland diver John Magee.

John came across Harry while diving on Hastings Reef on the Great Barrier Reef, about 60kms out of Cairns.

Given how infrequently the hairy ghost pipefish is spotted, there’s excitement around the photograph.

(Image credit: John Magee)

“As a solo diver, I am lucky to go on my own and can spend the time going slow looking for small things. I jumped off the back of the boat and started looking for things in the sand at about 12 metres under the boat.

“After about 10 minutes I came across a patch of red algae and seaweed drifting along the bottom, but something was drifting the other direction to the current. There it was.

“I knew right away it was a hairy ghost pipefish and for the next 65 mins I got to take lots of pictures.

John says he knew immediately it was a rare opportunity. “I have seen two others over the years, so I’m just lucky I had the camera settings right that day.”

You can see more of John’s images at