Florian Andrighetto shares his tale of the sea
"WHEN you are out at sea on your own, you have an almost euphoric feeling. You start to think that you are better than you actually are."
For retired criminal barrister Florian Andrighetto, it was sickness and a sudden restlessness inside of him that drove him to buy a yacht and throw caution to the wind.
"I think my life changed a bit when I got sick. I had an operation to remove some cancer which went bad. I was in hospital for a long time," he said.
"I bought a boat after that- I just decided I wanted to sail around the world. I was restless and needed to do something crazy."
The 62-year-old Victorian man had been travelling the globe on his Island Packet yacht since August 2013, a trip that was decided on a whim but had taken him on a journey of epic proportions.
Mr Andrighetto bought his yacht in New London, Connecticut and sailed to places like Tahiti, Ecuador and the Bahamas while on his way back to Australia.
He is now docked in Bundaberg as his trip of a lifetime comes to an end.
"When I started this, I had no idea about boats or sailing. I get terribly sea sick so it was a real challenge for me but that's what I wanted," he said.
"I questioned it. How was I going to do it? Would I survive? It took a lot of planning but by not being fully prepared, I learnt a lot along the way."
Mr Andrighetto said he had experienced some tricky situations over the two-year voyage.
"I got caught in a storm in the Caribbean Sea. I was on my own and there was a bit of damage done to the boat," he said.
"When I got it to Tahiti the shaft was rebuilt but then I ran into some engine troubles which took a while to fix."
"I wasn't expecting it to be an easy trip. You wouldn't be human if you weren't concerned that something drastic was going to happen at any given moment."
The amateur sailor said he had witnessed some spectacular moments during his escapades.
"I was amazed at a city called Manta in Ecuador. I stepped ashore and drove around to the beach and it was like the Gold Coast on steroids. That was amazing to see," he said.
"Some of the islands have really taken my breath away."
Mr Andrighetto said he hadn't completed the whole journey alone, with his wife Yvonne Brown meeting him in various parts of the world.
"She flew to the Bahamas where we holidayed together and also met me in French Polynesia," he said.
"She thinks I'm crazy for doing all of this but she knew there was a niggling inside of me to do something, anything."
The pair have now met up in Bundaberg where they will leave the boat docked until after the cyclone season.
"We then plan to head to the Whitsundays and then will sail back home in February next year," he said.
When asked what the sea had taught him, Mr Andrighetto said appreciation was on top of the list.
"I probably won't do it again because it has been a challenge but it has definitely opened up my eyes to many things," he said.
"The ocean has taught me to appreciate what you have in your life. I have especially missed my family, my children. It has made me realise how important it is to tell your children that you love them. To stop looking at people who have more than you and to concentrate on the people around you."