Sea Patrol: articles

An incredible voyage

SASKIA Burmeister has had a lot to celebrate this year.

There was her 23rd birthday in February, then her marriage to fellow actor Jamie Croft, and now the return of Sea Patrol, which is the second series of the popular Channel 9 series.

With a passion for acting, Burmeister has immersed herself in her character Nikki "Nav" Caetano and says she feels proud to tell stories about the Australian Navy to viewers.

"Nav is just a fantastic character to play and I have felt so blessed to be able to be a part of a show that really honours these heroes who protect Australia," Burmeister says.

"After meeting navy officers and their families and hearing the stories about various jobs they do, I was totally intrigued and then totally honoured that I could be part of a show that honoured them.

"Because that's essentially what I'm doing, I'm telling their stories."

Filming for the show began on a new Armidale Class patrol boat around the islands in northern Queensland and was finished at Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast in a $1.5 million set that replicated the real thing.

Burmeister was amazed at how accurately the set was constructed and, at times, had trouble distinguishing between the duplicate and the real thing.

"The set is really amazing," she says. "Particularly for the cast coming from the boat up north and then walking into the set down here, it is exactly what it's like.

"You're having flashbacks and feeling a bit seasick and you're like 'Oh wow, it's really like the ship'."

Burmeister had to conquer her seasickness without the rest of the cast knowing she was suffering.

"I'm like the only cast member who gets seasick," she says.

"I have like a couple of days at the beginning of the shoot then I get my sea legs and I'm OK. I'll be turning around to everyone going 'How are you feeling? Queasy? I'm feeling really bad today' and they'll say 'No I'm fine' and I'm like 'Oh no, this can't be good'.

"I took ginger pills and I got into the routine of having a good breakfast which seemed to help."

Suppressing her fears and remaining composed while filming scenes out in the elements was also a challenge for the young actor.

"I feel very fortunate to be able to shoot out on the ocean because that gives the show a sense of realism, but it was a huge challenge," she says.

"We were out on the ocean just off Dunk Island and Mission Beach on the Great Barrier Reef, shooting six days a week.

"We would be filming scenes in the water and then we would get out and a shark would float by or a sea snake would swim past and I'd just think, 'Wow, actually this is not a set, we're really out in the ocean'."

The actor has already built up an impressive body of work, appearing in film and television, and is gaining a reputation as someone who can play very different characters.

There was the sexy blonde Russian prostitute in The Jammed — a controversial film about the Australian sex trade — to her stocky and sulky Erika Yurkin in the film Hating Alison Ashley.

But while her career is going great guns, Burmeister still makes time for family.

"My grandmother lives on the Gold Coast and on the weekends I spend time with her," she says.

"She always makes sure she has a little Sea Patrol night in the village and all her friends come round."

By Vanessa Croll
April 09, 2008
The Courier-Mail