The Christmas spirit of Lake Cathie is embodied with the community’s support for Santa who takes to the water each year to wave at vehicles as they cross the bridge.
This year Ron Hunter (Santa) was reluctant to continue the annual tradition, which has been going for over a decade, as he lost his beloved dog Spike in July.
Spike was 17-years-old when he died and Mr Hunter owned him for 11 years. Spike’s previous owner was Mr Hunter’s brother in law.
Ron said he was looking at getting a female Jack Russell to accompany him on his water outings.
Ron is appreciative of the response from people when he waves to them as they cross the bridge in their cars. He said a lot of people wave back or beep their horns in response.
“Some of the emergency services even give me a short blast of the siren,” he said.
Ron usually paddles up into Lake Cathie and towards Lake Innes.
Ron purchased his red kayak from the Wauchope Show when he first moved to the area.
He uses his bike to tow the kayak on a trolley to and from the water.
Ron started out playing the role of Santa after he was told by a mother about the positive impact he had on children.
“There used to be children with special needs go across the bridge and one of the mothers said they loved seeing me on the kayak and the dog,” he said.
Ron said he would consider dressing up for Halloween and April Fools Day in 2018.
Ron is out and about on the water from 7am to wave to the first school bus as it crosses the bridge at 7.10am.