This expedition is all about overcoming fresh challenges in the subtropical marine wilderness of Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the remote reaches of the Everglades. In a phased teaching progression, instructors introduce beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in chart and compass navigation, small boat seamanship, weather observation, and anchoring. Regular group discussions allow for reflection on each day’s progress, and ensure that leadership and onboard responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is integral to planning the next day. As you live and work closely together, you’ll practice more than seamanship. While sailing one of the eastern seaboard’s wildest regions, you will explore your strengths and values, learn to live and travel simply, set goals and work toward them and rely on your group, the forces of nature, and what the group can carry. The habits learned and strengthened through these expeditions will serve you for life, and for whatever challenge is next.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
Our Pathfinder expeditions are designed for young adults who are recent high school graduates, college students, or young adults seeking personal, educational, or professional direction. Throughout these 30-day expeditions, students focus on increasing self-knowledge, clarifying values, strengthening decision-making skills and processes, and setting goals – all life skills to help chart a path toward independence with confidence and passion.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, students work closely together to travel, using only the wind or the oars as propulsion. As they rotate responsibilities, the group learns the crafts of maneuvering under sail, coastal navigation, rowing, and living aboard a small open boat. At night, students sleep on deck under a tarp, taking turns to keep anchor watch under brilliant night skies.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
The solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first half or two-thirds of the course. The time students spend on solo depends on the length of the course. On one-week courses, solo is four to12 hours long; on courses three weeks or longer, solo will be up to 72 hours.
Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (while still within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their solo time journaling, drawing or just thinking and resting as they process lessons from the course and begin to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily.
On Pathfinder expeditions, participants learn and practice the geometry of navigation, the choreography of rowing, the science of sailing, the good habits of living simply, the self-discipline of keeping equipment organized and ready, and the essential arts of forming a positive community. The abilities formed through learning these expedition skills will be relevant at home, at school or work and serve as preparation for the next challenge of life.
The Florida Keys, home to numerous birds and abundant marine life, are situated at the unique confluence of water flowing out of the Everglades into inner Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The waterways are shallow and intricate, providing an exciting cruising area for our nimble sailboats. Winding channels through the backcountry offer challenging shoal draft navigation and the opportunity to explore mangrove keys, grassy tidal flats and coral patch reefs. The Atlantic side offers open water sailing and, in calm weather, excellent snorkeling at the outer reefs. Turquoise waters, warm temperatures and prevailing easterly winds provide exceptional traveling both day and night.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.