The sea cat Chowder continues her adventures

July 2022

By J. Albert Mann

Far Away Islands of Paradise
As told to the author LeCain W. Smith, by the Sea Cat Chowder, 2022; 176 pp., Windrose Productions.

Written from the point of view of a cheerful and chirpy cat, “Far Away Islands” is the second book in a three-part series recounting the adventures of Chowder the sea cat. The first book – “Sailing South ‘til the Butter Melts” (reviewed August 2021) – chronicled the original leg of Chowder’s adventure sailing from Washington, down the coasts of California and Baja to Costa Rica, through the “Sweet Gulf,” and across the tropical convergence zone. And if, after reading “Sailing South,” you thought you couldn’t love Chowder more, you will be wrong.

Under the direction of Captain Lee and First Mate Sheila, the Perelandra (a 43-foot sailboat built by our captain) sets sail across the Pacific Ocean. It has been two years since Perelandra’s crew embarked on their voyage to circumnavigate the globe, and although our narrator is now a seasoned sailor, she is still the same earnest and curious cat we met in the first book.

From Easter Island, where a gale 10,000 kilometers away produces waves that almost capsize the crew, to the islands of Micronesia, where a long nap tops the “to do” list, Chowder fills the reader’s head with equal parts harrowing tale and fascinating fact. Pitcairn, Tuamotus, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji… Captain Lee, First Mate Sheila, and Chowder dance with locals, eat sea cucumbers, stand on the edge of a volcano and share the tradition of Halloween with new friends. But, of course, no sailing adventure would be worth the salt in the sea if it didn’t include sharks, dolphins, and whales, and Chowder knows her adventure.

Arriving late in the evening at one small island yet remembering to share some of their fresh produce with the locals before hitting their bunks, Chowder informs us, “Practically every morning after that, someone would bring a gift of freshly caught fish to our boat. What more could a cat want?”

Yes, Chowder. What more, indeed!

I am an official One Bigfella Puss Cat fan and can’t wait to pull up anchor, hoist the sails and take off once again into that wild blue yonder with Chowder, Captain Lee and First Mate Sheila. Next up… the Far East, the Indian Ocean and Africa.


J. Albert Mann is a disability activist, award-winning poet, and author of eight published novels for children. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is the Partner Liaison for the WNBD Internship Grant Committee. She lives on a little fishing boat in the Boston Harbor.