Friday, January 14, 2011


A few years ago sporty St Paul’s schoolgirl Bec Wotherspoon was netballing with the Australs and enjoying athletics with Macquarie Shores and Edgeworth. Her parents Kathryn and Peter were well-settled in West Wallsend.
Image of Leading Seaman Bec Wotherspoon
Leading Seaman Bec Wotherspoon
Now Bec is 26 and in the Navy. She has already sailed round the world once and by New Year she and her 190 shipmates aboard HMAS Stuart were heading for a maritime security patrol in the Gulf of Aden.
“I wanted to see the world before I settled down,” said Bec. “In fact I wanted just about everything! I wanted a challenge, something different, I wanted travel but I wanted to be secure too.”
For Bec the solution was to specialise as a Navy steward. “I get involved in the cocktail parties and diplomatic lunches,” said Bec. “But it doesn’t stop there.
“I’m also on the ship’s medical emergency team, and I get involved in on-deck seamanship — handling ship’s lines and so on.”
This won’t be Bec’s first Middle East trip. She was there in 2006 when the job was mostly guarding the Iraqi oil-rigs. An exercise in Hawaii followed in 2008 and then a six-month round-the-world deployment in 2009.
“I always have a huge stamp bill because I send postcards from everywhere!” said Bec.
“This time we’ll be safe-guarding international shipping lanes off Somalia. But my next posting will be a shore base in Sydney — only a few hours drive from home, so I won’t be spending so much on stamps. I’m even looking at buying a house.
“But I think I’ll have earned a holiday by then — I’m still choosing between the Kokoda Trail and Las Vegas. Talk about opposites.”
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