Shark barrier installation could be put on hold
UDPATE, 3.15pm: IF THE Lennox Head shark barrier is not completed in the next two days the operation will be suspended to wait out a forecast cold front on Saturday.
The first day of the rollout of the barrier rollout went ahead today - but despite good weather there were inevitable delays.
A team of 10 people worked to drag the first of three sections of the structure from the beach into the ocean and into the hands of a waiting team of divers.
Dealing with murky water, the dive team had to line up the 160m long flexible nylon structure before they began tying it down to a series of steel anchors and concrete blocks on the sea floor.
Project director Ed Khoury said the remaining two sections, both 250m long, would need to be finished well before the end of the week before a forecast storm on Saturday.
"We don't want to take a chance half-connecting the barrier," Mr Khoury said.
"If we're finding that we're running out of time we might have to leave one off.
"This is a massive job and this is a big barrier.
"The ocean is very volatile, we have to play by the rules of nature, when the tide moves up and down we have to adjust what we do.
"The divers are really doing an amazing job, we're very impressed with what they're doing."
But acknowledging the difficult, uncertain work, Mr Khoury said some engineers joked that it was easier to land a man on the moon than work with the ocean.
"At least the moon keeps still. The ocean doesn't," he said.
"You've got wind, rain, tide, waves, weed, fish, you name it."
UPDATE 1.30pm: DIRTY water in the ocean caused by last week's rain has made life difficult for a dive team fixing a section of the shark barrier into position at Lennox Head this afternoon.
Earlier today one of the three sections of the shark barrier, the 150m long east panel of the barrier, was dragged down the beach by a ground crew of about 10 people.
Clad in gloves and safety gear, the workers literally picked up the sides of the heavy nylon netting and pulled it into the water.
They were assisted by an offshore team onboard an inflatable boat whose vessel was hooked up to the end of the barrier.
A bobcat positioned further down the beach was also involved.
The team of local divers are needed to lock down the barrier to a series of anchors on the sea floor, one at a time.
The operation is attempting to get two of the three sections of the barrier into place today, given almost perfect conditions except for a fairly minor swell of under a metre that is still making things somewhat challenging offshore.
The work has taken over the stretch of beach in front of the Lennox Head-Alstonville Surf Life Saving Club.
UPDATE 11.20am: WORK continues this morning to put the shark barrier at Lennox Head into position.
Watch the video here:
TUESDAY 10.15am: LENNOX Head's Main Beach has been closed off as the first day of the rollout of the shark barrier gets underway.
At present the nylon barrier is lying on the beach with a team of eight people standing by, waiting to drag it to the ocean.
It is fixed with floats which will keep it on the surface as it is dragged out to sea.
An inflatable boat is offshore, which will help position the barrier once it is floated out.
The beach is being impacted a moderate sized swell of under a metre.