To Sail Beyond the Sunset

Hurricane Island - The Outward Bound Years

This book tells of the creation - starting in 1964 - of the only Outward Bound sea school in the United States, on Hurricane Island, ten miles off the coast in Penobscot Bay, Maine.  

Susan St. John, a HIOBS instructor herself for 30 years, took nine years to gather the 400 color photographs included in the book and the stories of 100 staff members. The stories, about the creation of experiential education on an island and in “those funny little boats,” include carrier pigeons and a non-fatal strike by lightning. All the stories are liberally doused with a sense of service, salt water and the smell of spruce on Hurricane and in the magnificent archipelago of Midcoast Maine.

The book begins with short histories of Outward Bound, started in Britain in the early 1940s, and of the quarrying years on Hurricane Island, circa 1900. The epilogue includes HIOBS’s success after its move to Wheeler Bay in St. George in the first decade of this century and the creation of the Center for Science and Leadership which now runs programs on Hurricane Island.


A memorable gift for the holidays. 

A collection of over 400 color photographs and 100 voices from the field collected by Susan St. John


I don’t think people realize that the biggest gift Outward Bound has given is that it’s brought really brought all of these people all these leaders to this community. Those Outward Bound staff who have decided to stay and live in Midcoast Maine have had a profound impact on this area.

—Jack Williams, Vice President at Camden National Bank

 

"The genuine, personal stories in this book reveal some of the most fundamental aspects of the human condition—community and belonging."

—Lynn Novick, Co-Director of the PBS Series The Vietnam War


"This Is It—It’s All I Need to Know"

Peter Osborne Willauer

Peter Osborne Willauer

 

In 1963, Josh Miner told me that the Outward Bound Foundation was interested in starting a school on the East Coast, preferably a sea school, and asked whether I would be interested in taking it on. Thinking this would be a great summer job, I said, “Yes”, and Josh asked me to look for a site.


Jack Crocker, the Headmaster at the Groton School where I was teaching, lived on North Haven in the summer and was a relative of Pen Williamson and Barney Hallowell. Jack said, “Go look at Hurricane Island; based on what we think you want to do, that’s what you want.” And so in the fall of 1963, Betty and I borrowed Les Crockett’s 36’ Challenger and sailed Down East from Portland to Hurricane Island.


It was blowing hard out of the east and, as we beat across the bay, it was obvious that we couldn’t land at the main pier on Hurricane. We tried to anchor in behind Two Bush, across from the quarry, but there were a lot of boulders and lots of kelp, and it was still blowing pretty hard. We had a dinghy and the second time we anchored I said to Betty, “You’d better stay with the boat and keep the engine running.” I rowed into the cobble beach, pulled the dinghy up and made about an hour and a half tour of the island. Back then there wasn’t a road to the main pier so I bushwhacked across. I saw all those piers and foundations and then worked back over and saw the quarry pond and the cliffs. I said to myself, “This is it; it’s all I need to know” and went back to the boat.

 

- Peter Willauer 1964


 
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Questions?

If you have questions, please use the form below to drop Susan a line.

 
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