Former liveaboard voyager and self-professed “citizen of the world,” Liesbet Collaert’s memoir Plunge is, like many other voyagers’ memoirs, an account of passages made, life aboard, dealing with gear failure, experiencing tropical beauty and a freedom tempered only by wind and weather.
Yet, it would be unfair to only place the book in the category of sailing memoir. Plunge is also an affecting account of Collaert’s emotional life, her evolving relationship with her voyaging husband, Mark, and the losses and trade-offs that everyone, no matter afloat or ashore, must navigate.
The memoir is bracingly honest about Collaert’s marriage and the sometimes choppy times she and Mark endure as they learn to voyage, start a successful marine electronics business and lose loved ones to illness.
Collaert also includes how she and Mark learned to voyage, with the events of their first long passage in the Pacific making them wonder if blue water ocean sailing was really for them. Their efforts to learn to fish while underway were also an amusing element that further demonstrated their open attitude to learning new things, a useful part of a voyager’s skill set.
There is much in this memoir to recommend it, not the least of which is Collaert’s engaging writing. Her considerable skill in conveying the quotidian, as well as the emotional peaks and valleys, shapes this book into more than just a sailing diary. It’s a life memoir of a born wanderer always seeking out her next passage.