Enjoying life on high seas
TWEED Heads woman Michelle Beesley is helping protect Australia's coast from people smugglers.
The 25-year-old spends her days on a multi-million dollar, latest-generation patrol boat as part of her job in the Royal Australian Navy.
After completing studies at Tweed River High School in 2000, Ms Beesley dabbled in hospitality as a kitchen hand, cook and barmaid at cafes and restaurants throughout town.
Eventually she felt the lure of a more adventurous life afloat.
“I joined the Navy in 2008 for a new career,” Ms Beesley said.
“To travel, meet new people and to have fun doing it.”
Ms Beesley is now based in tropical Darwin and protecting Australia's maritime borders from people smugglers and illegal foreign fishing vessels as part of Operation Resolute.
“When I'm at sea on patrol I know I'm out there protecting my country, my family and my friends,” she said.
“I'm having so much fun on patrol boats right now that I can't imagine doing anything else.”
Ms Beesley is a bosun's mate, which means on-deck seamanship and looking after the boat's pistols, rifles and machine guns.
Fortunately she said she still gets back to Tweed Heads as often as possible.
“Seeing my family is the most important thing for me when I go home,” Ms Beesley said.
“Then catching up with my friends, preferably for dinner in Coolangatta at Top Noodle - the best Japanese restaurant in town.”