Sailing South ‘til the Butter Melts

As told by Chowder to the author LeCain W. Smith

The first in the series: The Amazing Adventures of the Sea Cat Chowder

Most cats don’t dream about sailing around the world. Neither did Chowder. But in the 1990’s, she somewhat reluctantly joined her caregivers, Captain Lee and mate Sheila, on a voyage that lasted six years, covering over 45,000 miles while visiting foreign lands and remote paradise islands.

In this first of three books based on her true life sea adventure, Chowder reveals how she left her home on land and got her sea legs onboard a forty-three foot sailboat that Lee built. While they sail down the west coast of the Americas to the enchanted islands of the Galapagos, she shares how she handles each experience and adapts to the variety of situations that occur during her first two years at sea. Her apprehension turns into a sense of curiosity and wonder as she is transformed into a global sea cat by the challenges of rolling seas, large freak waves, lightning, storms, sharks, ugly insects, wild jungle animals, and the dangers of pirates. Yet, she also purrs about the pleasure of eating fresh fish, playing with birds, encounters with singing parrots, dancing dolphins, spouting whales, and friendly folks from many cultures. She loves to give the readers the inside scoop on life aboard a cruising yacht. Come sail away with her!


This book, illustrated by the author, is appropriate for middle-grade children, young adults, sailors of all ages, and any adult with the heart of a child.

We finished book one the other night, and we really enjoyed it. My kids ate it right up! Although my kids are a little younger (age six and seven) than your target audience, they definitely appreciated Chowder’s narration and the humor throughout the story. We loved the book and look forward to the next volumes!

map of voyage Chowder in action

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Living on the High Seas
Chapter 2 – The Cruising Life for Cats
Chapter 3 – The Tale of the Sea Cat Scruffy
Chapter 4 – Getting Ready on Land
Chapter 5 – The Big Move to the Water
Chapter 6 – A Shakedown Cruise
Chapter 7 – Into the Wild Blue
Chapter 8– Lively Times at Sea
Chapter 9 – California Coastal Cruising
Chapter 10 – Happy and Sad Times in San Diego


Chapter 11 – Sailing Down the Baja Coast
Chapter 12 – Unique Animal Encounters
Chapter 13 – Meeting Some Extreme Challenges
Chapter 14 – Jungle Life in Costa Rica
Chapter 15 – Fun for All in the Tropics
Chapter 16 – Playing in Panama
Chapter 17 – Ecuador and the Isles of Enchantment

Rarely do children’s books  provide adventure, humor, education, wisdom and insight all in one story, but LeCain Smith’s book “Sailing South ‘til the Butter Melts” does just that, and all of it told from the perspective of “one big fella pussycat” (otherwise known as Chowder) as she recounts her adventures on the high sea with her sailing “mates” Lee and Sheila.  Chronicling the first part of a six-year circumnavigation of the world, Chowder “keeps a log” of the many sights, sounds and experiences she and her mates have as they travel from the coast of Washington State to the Galapagos Islands.  And through those log entries readers are invited to see what Chowder sees, to feel what Chowder feels as he encounters the challenges of fog, storms, and volcanic ash as well as the beauty and wonder of bird life, sea creatures, and land animals along the way.

LeCain’s illustrations of Chowder’s adventures add humor and delight to the story.  And his ability to “sneak in” nautical terms along with their definitions, even as Chowder is telling of her experiences, provides the rare combination of education and fun.  Seven-year-old Gabe said he loved the pictures of Chowder doing “funny things,” and nine-year-old Dylan said he liked reading about all the many animals Chowder saw on her journey.  Both Gabe and Dylan enjoyed learning about the “poop deck.”

I highly recommend LeCain’s invitation to readers of all ages to travel the high seas with Chowder.  Reading Chowder’s log will make you laugh, wonder, learn, and long to begin such an adventure yourself.  And not only that; it will also provide you with some beautiful words of wisdom such as these, “No matter how much you prepare for things, the unexpected can happen.  There is always an element of risk.  So it is best to stay positive, kind, and brave, while having some knowledge of how to care for yourself. That’s my advice to other cats considering careers as traveling mariners.”

Wisdom for us all I should think.  Shared with humor and an openness to wonder.  What more could one ask for in the times in which we live?

Sailing South ‘til the Butter Melts cover

Paperback ISBN 978-0-9615508-4-4
Published 2021
Price $16.99, plus shipping and handling
Media Mail ($3.90 shipping and handling)
First Class ($10.00 shipping and handling

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E-Book ISBN 978-0-9615508-3-7
Published 2021 Price $6.99

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Stay tuned for the release date of the print book version of this book and both versions of book two: Far Away Islands of Paradise and book three: Westward Over the Horizon in this series.

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