Twenty-four sailors from every walk of life, of every age and temperament, living literally cheek-by-jowl for week after week, away from family and friends sometimes for months at a time. All crammed in an elderly 40 metre metal hulled boat - in seas of all conditions with temperatures often in the 30's.
That is, he’s friendly and gregarious with everyone other than Kate. The oddly formal manner with which he treats the X.O. is a constant source of bemusement and frustration for her.
What is this guy’s problem?
The Navy wasn’t always part of Dylan’s plan. The only son of wealthy property owners, Dylan grew up on a cattle farm in the Hunter Valley. But when drought set in, the family’s business went under. Forced to sell up, they moved to Sydney, where Dylan – coming to terms with the loss of his inheritance – joined the Navy on a whim. An expert stockman and rodeo rider – skills that seem superfluous on a boat – actually hold Dutchy in good stead on the water – he’s strong, graceful, well balanced, with an uncanny instinct the others put down to horse sense.
As to how he finds himself on Hammersley – Dutchy is pierhead jumped when the current buffer, a replacement for Pete Tomaszewski, doesn’t work out. Where the previous buffer lacked initiative, leadership skills and confidence in his abilities, Dutchy proves the complete opposite. Supremely capable, highly skilled, with razor sharp instincts and tonnes of initiative, it’s not long before he’s clashing with Kate over the technical aspects of Navy procedure. At times, he’s too aggressive on a boarding, too quick to resort to force. At other times, he’s overzealous in his protection of Kate, and equally critical of her if he feels she’s let her guard down in a volatile situation.
And yet, he still goes out of his way to avoid Kate in the general day to day running of the ship. Again, Kate wonders, what the hell is this guy’s problem?
2Dads worships him because he’s a war hero. He’s been recently awarded the Bravery Medal during service on a big ship in the Gulf. He doesn’t talk about the “incident” much – a routine boarding off Iraq which went horribly wrong, a hostage situation, the death of one of his crew… And though 2Dads is dead keen to get a glimpse of that shiny medal, Dutchy keeps it locked away. Having gone through a full debrief and routine counselling, Dutchy’s as good as gold. And you wouldn’t question the Brass’s assessment that he’s come through the “incident” with flying colours…if it wasn’t for the strange way he treats Kate.
But when Kate and Dutchy find themselves in a struggle for survival, the truth of Dutchy’s issue with Kate is revealed.
With a new understanding of each other, Kate and Dutchy begin to form a close bond.
PO Bosun Dylan 'Dutchy' Mulholland Photos
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