Long shadows marked the end of a third fruitless day in the ongoing search for Hunter fishing mates Trey Adamson and Ben Winn yesterday.
Downscaled following a major operation on Sunday and Monday, yesterday's search effort failed to find the missing Mr Adamson, 18, of Windale, and Mr Winn, 20, of Gateshead.
VIDEO: Tuesday afternoon update on the search. Video filmed and produced by Dean Osland
The search will again be cut as it resumes today. A NSW Police spokesman said only Tuggerah Lakes police and the National Parks and Wildlife Service were expected to keep looking from this morning.
Divers, helicopters, jet skis and State Emergency Service have been used to seek the missing pair since the search began on Sunday.
Family members including Mr Winn's sister Amanda Mackenzie-Kludas maintained their vigil yesterday, scouring the rocks and waves alongside authorities and volunteers.
Tuggerah Lakes' Chief Inspector Tim Winmill said during yesterday's search that police had been discouraging anyone else from seeking the missing duo.
"This is a very dangerous location and what we don't want to see is someone that's trying to help getting themselves into trouble and perhaps another tragedy," he said.
Flat Rock has developed a sinister reputation for snatching rock fishermen into the waves, with five Sydney anglers drowned during a 2010 expedition.
Hopes that Mr Adamson and Mr Winn had found shelter in a cave or in nearby bushland appear less likely with each passing day.
But their loved ones remain committed to doing anything they can to try to bring them home.
The two mates, former Hunter Sports High students, were lost after a horror weekend fishing tragedy at Flat Rock in southern Lake Macquarie.
The third member of their party, Mr Adamson's Edgeworth girlfriend Niranda Blair, 18, was found dead on nearby Ghosties Beach on Sunday morning.