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Sea Patrol

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Mission Beach is set in a cluster of tropical rainforest and is the jewel of the Great Green Way, where the rainforest meets the beach. The vibrant beachfront town has over 14 kilometres of golden sandy beaches fringed with rainforest and is stunning.

While Mission Beach is quite secluded, it is a good base for visits to the Great Barrier Reef, Hinchinbrook and Dunk Islands, Paronella Park at Mena Creek, the Atherton Tablelands, Cairns, the Gulf savannah and the World Heritage wet tropic rainforest. It is also the set of a brand new Australian drama, Sea Patrol, starring Ian Stenlake and Lisa McCune.

The brainchild of Hal and Diane McElroy, Sea Patrol is about the men and women of the Navy Patrol Boat Service and how they battle the elements and the odds defending Australia's watery borders.

Twenty four sailors of every age and temperament live cheek by jowl, away from family and friends, sometimes for months at a time. Conditions are fairly cramped aboard a veteran 32-metre metal hulled boat, in seas of all conditions and blistering tropical heat.

Those conditions bring out the best, and sometimes the worst, in them. Reserves of duty, tolerance, obedience and humour are called upon as they chase smugglers and thieves, help reckless adventurers and desperate refugees and protect the environment. Patrol boat sailors say their job is the best in the Navy.

Commanding Officer Mike Flynn, played by Ian Stenlake, captains HMAS Hammersley, a 52-metre Navy patrol boat. His XO Kate McGregor, determined, ambitious and insecure, is played by Lisa McCune. Navigator Nikki Caetano is the only other woman on board.

Their workplace is teeming with life — sharks, crocodiles, jagged reefs and coral cays, with the occasional cyclone. Special effects aren't needed — it's all provided by Mother Nature.

As most of the action takes place at sea, there are lots of boats involved and the mothership is a base for the cast and crew. Rehearsal, wardrobe, make-up and catering are based on her.

The entire crew agrees that the series could not have gone ahead without wonderful co-operation from the real Royal Australian Navy.

Sea Patrol will be on the Nine Network on Thursdays at 8.30pm from July 5.

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