Voyage of the Invader

by Louise Omwake Eckerson

Voyage of the Invader is a schooner voyage, summer 1941, from California to Hawaii, with a crew of well-meaning amateurs. This autobiographical account is the fascinating tale of adventure and misadventure on the Pacific.

Preface by Ruth E. Grauert

Louise Omwake Eckerson

Louise at age 98
Louise Omwake Eckerson (1907–2008) was my high school English teacher from 1933 to 1935.  Of course, we were out of touch for most of the century.  Then in 1998 we found each other and traded adventures.

Imagine crossing the Pacific in the summer of 1941 in a schooner!  She confided that she had written an account of it, and as I read her manuscript I was transported to a long-gone world.

Louise was born in Washington, D.C., on January 18, 1907.  She was educated in D.C., earning her Ph.D. at George Washington University in 1931.  She was most proud of her athletic record and wanted us to know that she won a cup for best athlete at GWU.  She was always the adventurer, traveling the world by freighter, and finally by the schooner Invader.  Of course, WWII interrupted all our lives and her adventures took a different course.

Like the rest of us in the Depression and war years, she worked at various venues, in educational research and teaching.  She founded one of the country’s first early learning centers in Hackettstown, New Jersey.  She did editorial research for Time and counseled returning veterans under the G.I. bill.  She married Andrew Eckerson and took time out to help rear his three young daughters.

Her ventures resumed when she went to work in the D.C. school system and the U.S. Dept. of Education.  She organized the first White House Conference on Education.

By now you know that Louise was a remarkable human.  At 99 years of age her curiosity and activism had hardly diminished.  She was living in Mitchellville, Maryland, until her death shortly after her 101st birthday.

Louise wrote the original copy of the saga during the mid-40s and added changes in the 80s.  While she wished she had kept the notebook and letters she wrote relative to the schooner experiences, her memories of the various disasters were still vivid as she wrote this verson.  Van, one of her fellow voyagers, read and edited the manuscript.

Bearnstow Journal gratefully acknowledges Suzanne Jones for copy editing and retyping the manuscript for the Web publication of Voyage of the Invader.

The Invader, the schooner on which Louise made her Pacific voyage in 1941, has been restored in Viareggio, Italy. For a description of the Schooner Invader as it is today, see and here on, which also chronicles the Invader’s history and provides a detailed description of her restoration.

Voyage of the Invader Chapter Index

Chapter 1  Chapter 2  Chapter 3  Chapter 4  Chapter 5  Chapter 6  Chapter 7  Chapter 8