IT was as long as a car and as fat as a cow – and it may well have had a mate.

The tales of the great white shark which glided a little too close to some of Newcastle’s favourite strips of sand for comfort were lengthening to rival the size of the beast itself, which those in the know believe could have stretched to five metres.

The fin of a shark that closed Newcastle’s beaches on January 10

Beaches from Stockton to Merewether were closed for differing lengths of time over the weekend after a keen eye first saw a dorsel fin off the iconic Merewether ocean baths about 11.30am on Saturday.

Authorities continued to monitor the situation through Saturday, where rubber duckies, jetskis and water police vessels patrolled confirmed sightings off Merewether watch tower, Ladies Reef and further north off Susan Gilmore Beach as late as 8pm.

Nic Tonks, aged 14, from Merewether, photographed the fin of the shark at Merewether beach on Saturday.

And just when they may have been breathing a sigh of relief, a jetski rider saw a massive shape at the northern end of Nobbys about 12.30pm on Sunday afternoon, confirming it as a large great white, and the shark alarms went off again.

Large schools of baitfish were reported off the coast early on Saturday morning, prompting some experts to suggest that the large shark may have been ‘‘chasing the stuff that eat the fish that eat the baitfish’’.

Whatever caused it to spend almost two days within a few hundred metres of the sand, the shark’s visit caused a frenzy of discussion.

Part-time lifeguard Mark Woodcock said the first confirmed sighting was about noon on Saturday, when a Merewether surf club member saw it off the baths.

The storyGreat White fear closes Newcastle beaches first appeared in the Newcastle Herald.

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