RAINBOW Beach appeared to find its pot of gold over the weekend, with massive well-behaved crowds and very few idiots, aside from some elements in the news media.
Some beach drivers, though not endangering others, seemed to value their cars at less than their insurance policies might suggest.
But police rubbished a weekend news report which implied bad behaviour by drivers at Teewah, despite a weekend characterised by better-than-average behaviour and only the hint of drink driving.
One said that, with about 1500 random breath tests conducted by late morning yesterday, both on the beach and around the Rainbow Beach township, only three drink drivers had been detected at that stage.
Sober as they were, a large contingent of beach drivers provided mass entertainment for pedestrians with an amazing display of blue water four-wheel driving.
The notorious Mudlo Rocks, totally impassable yesterday because of big holes in the sand, was not quite enough to stop drivers on Sunday, although most spectators are still wondering how they got away with it.
Queues of drivers took their 4WDs for a surf, some only a few metres from people swimming in metre-deep water, with breakers 1m or more on top of that.
Spray flew as vehicles, including one Dodge that lost several body parts on rocks and in holes, thumped and crunched their way around the Rocks. With bow waves sometimes covering headlights and surf crashing into their sides, the cars kept coming, prompted by a three-hour traffic jam on the Freshwater Track, normally a half-hour journey.
Camping grounds were full or near full.
Scott Elms’ car wash, which caters specifically for four-wheel-drive underbody rinsing, had queues for more than five hours as drivers began their return from Easter.
Police expressed grateful surprise at the good behaviour of drivers and holidaymakers generally along the Coast.
“It was a fantastic, well behaved crowd,” one Beach-based police officer reported yesterday.
“We haven’t had that hoon element. We’ve had nice people,” he said.
At that stage, only two people had been detected drink driving on the beach, with an additional one in the Rainbow Beach township.
Crowded camping conditions were the norm, with most tent and trailer areas full for most of the long weekend.
In some cases only a couple of sites were available even at grounds that were still open.
Private camping and caravan parks reported the same thing, with Rainbow Waters at Carlo Point and the surf front Rainbow Beach van park both reporting an extremely busy weekend.
Shop owners were too busy to come to the phone and traffic was thick on the way home yesterday.
On the water, Tin Can Bay Coastguard had a busy but generally routine weekend, with the exception of one almost false alarm.
Cmmdr Jim George reported one drama on Sunday, with a call for help from a 48-foot steel yacht which reported being in trouble north-east of Double Island Point.
Would-be rescuers searched the area for some time without success before obtaining permission from Canberra to instruct the skipper to let off his EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).
That enabled Canberra monitors to determine the vessel’s position, which turned out to be off Caloundra.
It was towed to safety by Mooloolaba Coastguard, after being found stranded in the middle of the shipping channel, with a what one Mooloolaba rescuer described as “a big tanker bearing down on them.”
Other than that it was a case of several callouts for assistance from craft with engine or steering problems and no major dramas.
“Quiet, considering the very large number of vessels of all descriptions on the water,” was one description.
Inland campsites were similarly near-full over the weekend, with early bookings a wise move for the rest of the school holidays.