Gap Year students join Gascoyne

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Alan Parton (author), ABIS Kayla Hayes (photographer)

Location(s): Cairns, Queensland, Cairns, Queensland

Royal Australian Navy Gap Year Seamen, Jesse O'Sullivan, Johaline Enslin and Jack Wilson onboard HMAS Gascoyne as they sail off the coast of Cooktown in Far North Queensland. (photo: ABIS Kayla Hayes)
Royal Australian Navy Gap Year Seamen, Jesse O'Sullivan, Johaline Enslin and Jack Wilson onboard HMAS Gascoyne as they sail off the coast of Cooktown in Far North Queensland.

Three gap year students embarked in Sydney-based minehunter, HMAS Gascoyne during a deployment to far North Queensland, were exposed to more than just routine seamanship whilst onboard.

The trio joined the minehunter in Cairns when it stopped to refuel en-route on a tasking to dispose of suspected unexploded ordnance.

The group had already experience life on one of the Royal Australian Navy’s largest vessels, HMAS Adelaide and were keen to see life on a small ship.

Seaman Star Jesse O’Sullivan said that the experience was part of “the best year of my life.”

Fellow Seaman Star, Johaline Eslin said the experience was exciting and dynamic.
 
“As part of a small ship's crew you have to fit in quickly, there is no room for passengers," she said.

"I really enjoyed working with the ship's medical emergency teams during damage control exercises. The Gap Year is a great opportunity to gain valuable skills.”
 
During their time onboard the trio were employed in a variety of roles including helm, bridge lookout and assisted with duties when entering and leaving harbour.

They also acted as part of the cable party for the reef transit, launched and recovered seaboats and took part in damage control training.
 
Seaman Star Jack Wilson said that the exposure opened his eyes to more career options.
 
“The variety of jobs in the Navy is far greater than I realized this time a year ago, I particularly liked helping the divers,” he said.
 
The Australian Defence Force Gap Year - Navy program provides 18 to 24 year olds with a flavour of life in the Navy. Employed as general duty sailors they contribute to everyday operations.