Shark menace hits weekend fun
Port Macquarie's holiday weekend at the start of the new surf season was a period of mixed fortunes and blessings for many townspeople and holidaymakers.
In spite of two days of good spring weather, most beaches had to be closed to swimmers; police were kept busy with acts of hooliganism; two giant palls of smoke from nearby bushfires hung low over the town, and high winds sent boating enthusiasts and campers scurrying for safety.
In contrast to this, municipal workers and deep sea fishermen managed late on Saturday to eventually rid the Flynns Beach area of a 40-ton whale which beached itself three days earlier.
Spotter aircraft and the Carnival of the Pines' new jet rescue boat were both used over the weekend to give warnings on 12 sharks menacing the safety of the beaches.
The sharks had been attracted to the area by the 40 foot whale as it lay dead and bleeding on the beach.
At one time, warnings were issued in connection with eight sharks circling close inshore with a further four patrolling Flynns Beach.
Yesterday, a 17 foot shark was sighted cruising around within a matter of yards of the water's edge.
Crew members on the jet rescue craft lashed out at the monster with paddles but, as one on-looker observed, "the shark seemed unconcerned and did not turn a hair when hit".
The presence of sharks resulted in lifeguards closing all beaches to swimmers and cordoning off Flynns Beach.
The new surfboat of the Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club was officially launched and named Port Macquarie II at a ceremony in front of the surf pavilion yesterday.
The boat was made possible by an appeal run by Port Macquarie News, generously subscribed to by a wide cross-section of people, businesses and other organisations in the district.
As a result of his close interest in the boat, Mr C.T. Uptin was asked to perform the launching ceremony on behalf of the paper.
Mr Uptin said he was honoured to have been called upon to name the boat. Eighteen years ago Mr Uptin named Port Macquarie I, which was also purchased with monies raised by public subscription to an appeal conducted by the Port Macquarie News.
Name the Nine competition winner
A sideline feature of the recent local government elections in Port Macquarie was a Name the Nine competition run in the town to help raise funds for the Surf Lifesaving Club's surfboat appeal.
Competitors were asked to guess who the lucky candidates would be in the elections.
Although there were no correct entries, three competitors came up with eight correct names out of nine.
In order to find a winner, the three near correct entries were put in a hat and to everyone's surprise the winner was former councillor Jim Boardman.
Hot rods in town
Cars belonging to members of the Hot Rod Clubs of New South Wales arrived in Port Macquarie during the holiday weekend on an annual club outing.
Members travel the country as a group each year, coming north from Sydney every second year.