Anne and Noel Buzaglo with a photo of their catamaran, Perwinji.
Anne and Noel Buzaglo with a photo of their catamaran, Perwinji. Beverley Geissler

A couple's life on the high seas

NOEL and Anne Buzaglo have had a radical change of lifestyle since moving to the rural township of Degilbo, after spending much of the past 10 years cruising the east coast of Australia.

The couple still miss their idyllic lifestyle of sailing from Bowen to Clarence in their multi-hull catamaran, Perwinji, enjoying the solitude of secluded bays and golden beaches.

In 1992, a yearning to try ocean cruising led the couple to purchase a 10m fibreglass catamaran to fit out for cruising.

“We had no idea when we began what we had undertaken and it took us nearly two years, and lots of help, to complete it,” Mr Buzaglo said.

Reminiscing about their years on board, they recalled when their yacht held up traffic on the Pacific Highway as it passed under the bridge over the Clarence River.

“We felt both humbled and important to have the traffic stopped while the middle section of the bridge was raised just for us,” Mrs Buzaglo said.

She said some days were “crackers” while others were “nightmares”, such as their passage from Ballina when they ignored the old saying “never leave a port on a Friday”.

“We departed on Good Friday in good sailing conditions, to find it quickly worsening with the nearest Air Sea Rescue out after a lightning strike,” she said.

“We spent a very long night battling shifting currents, heading out to sea and coming back in to find we had made no northerly progress.”

Eventually, the couple drifted past the Gold Coast around 3am, exhausted and vowing never to tempt fate again on a Friday.

The sailors have had delightful and scary encounters with marine creatures including dolphins, humpback whales that swam parallel to them in Platypus Bay, and an enormous manta ray – 2m across – which circled their boat, prompting fears it would catch their mooring lines.

Health problems caused the couple to find Perwinji a new home, which they did in Hobart, and the catamaran has since crossed the Bass Strait five times.

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