Sailing With Impunity
by Mary E. Trimble



ShelterGraphics, 2015. ISBN 978-0-692-41778-2.
Reviewed by Amy Hale Auker
Posted on 07/16/2015

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Travel/Adventure

...We experienced a strange phenomenon with water so calm and smooth that the stars' reflection was as clearly visible as those in the sky. It gave us a feeling of being suspended in space, with stars above, below, and all around us. It was magical, and eerie.

I was drawn to Sailing with Impunity by Mary E. Trimble because for several years my husband and I have talked about someday living on a sailboat, leaving land behind. I was prepared to enjoy this memoir of Trimble's journey in the South Pacific with her husband Bruce, but I had no idea how very much I would actually learn in the reading. Trimble dives deep into the details and logistics not only of sailing, but of leaving land and family and previous lives and commitments behind. She offers a clear picture of how they stayed in contact with loved ones back home and the new people they met and the community they gained along the way. She offers glimpses of cooking while the waves buffet the boat and the need to stay connected as a couple even while standing four-hour watches around the clock. She is candid in describing her dismay at the noise and pollution in some harbors, her dislike of clutter in the cabin, the logistics of collecting shells, the devastation left by the cyclone Ofa in Samoa, and her horror when there really was a man overboard. Some of my favorite passages are about solitary harbors where she and Bruce are anchored alone for long periods of time. At peace with the journey.

Through the whole book, Trimble offers tidbits of history and culture and even the pronunciation of island names that I found very helpful and even intriguing.

One of the most helpful inclusions in the book, apart from the wonderful graphics and photographs, is the glossary of nautical terminology. This is a book that will stay on our shelves.

I am now eager to read Tubob: Two Years in West Africa with the Peace Corps, the story of the Trimbles' earlier adventure, one year into their marriage.


Award-winning author Mary E. Trimble, in addition to sailing the South Pacific, served for two years in Africa with the Peace Corps, and more recently retired from the American Red Cross after volunteering for 20 years. Her experiences also include crewing on the all ship M.S. Explorer as purser and ship's diver, and she served as Admission Director for a professional deep-sea diving school. She and her husband, Bruce, enjoy rural life on Camano Island, Washington. Visit her website.

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