Westward Ho! Sailor cat completes final voyage



Editor’s note: The following are a few new book titles and related activities happening in Hancock County.

BROOKSVILLE — Most cats don’t dream about sailing around the world. Neither did Castine author LeCain W. Smith’s cat Chowder. But in the 1990s, the feline somewhat reluctantly joined Smith, known to friends as Captain Lee, and his mate Sheila, on a six-year voyage, covering over 45,000 miles, visiting foreign lands and remote paradise islands.

The journey voyage inspired Smith to tell his cat’s story in a series of illustrated chapter books intended for middle-grade and young adults. But they are certainly suitable for sailors and any adult with the heart of a child. In the triology, titled “The Amazing Adventures of the Sea Cat Chowder,” the cat provides her own account during of the global voyage.

Smith was born near the ocean in southern coastal Maine and was called to the sea early in life. Over the years, different sailboats took him on many nautical adventures usually accompanied by a cat as a companion. Over time, his maritime skills came to include teaching sailing and navigation, boatbuilding, boat deliveries, yacht surveying, serving as a harbormaster, and as a licensed captain chartering boats. In addition, he wrote several nonfiction books including “Steel Away,” “The Maritime History of Brooksville” and “Our Inner Ocean.”

This month, “Westward Beyond the Horizon” will be released as the last volume in Smith’s trilogy that includes “Sailing South ’til the Butter Melts” and “Far Away Islands of Paradise.” Each book covers about a two-year period.

In the final volume, Chowder finds herself in Australia, a continent full of crocodiles, kangaroos, and aborigines. Chowder presumes she is capable of handling everything exploring the islands of Indonesia and the nations of Malaysia and Thailand. Eventually, the voyagers sail across the Indian Ocean to South Africa. They continue beyond into the South Atlantic to Brazil and the Caribbean Sea, before journeying via Bermuda back to Maine.

During the journey, Chowder recounts her encounters with alligators, spinner dolphins, powerful lightning strikes, local pirates, komodo dragons, waterspouts, large rolling seas, boa constrictors, spouting whales and dancing elephants.

To purchase any of the books (either paperback or E-book), visit Windrose Productions’ website at www.windroseaway.com or go online.

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