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Telltail & Howland


While this column usually features canines, occasionally we encounter an especially worthy cat. And what could be more special than a seagoing cat whose sidekick is a dog? Telltail, the cat, and Howland, a Jack Russell terrier from Belfast, Maine, live in Rockland, Maine, with Emma and Nate Hathaway, tall ship sailors who “swallowed the anchor” and came ashore after years of sailing the high seas together—up and down both coasts, the Hawaiian islands, much of the Caribbean, and the Great Lakes. Their sailing experiences range from a carbon-fiber America’s Cup sloop to an 18th century brig. The two both have Mayflower ancestry, but made sure it wasn’t the same progenitor during the early days of their relationship. Emma, who holds a 500-ton ocean masters license, drives barges in Penobscot Bay for Midcoast Bargeworks. Nate, who has spent most of his career working as a deckhand or mate with a 100-ton ticket, works these days at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership.

Telltail joined the team in 2016. He was a stray kitten in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, when Emma, then captain of the Maine Maritime Academy’s schooner Bowdoin found him. His name comes from an old debate about whether sailors should “need” a wind indicator. He is quite fond of being out on the town in a backpack or walking on leash in Camden Hills (even in the snow), and, perhaps best of all, he was toilet trained from the start, and knows how to use a ships’ head.



Howland showed up in January 2022, and immediately became best buddies with the cat. Being from Belfast, it was only right to name him after an ancestor of Emma’s who came to Maine in the 17th century. Howland is a favorite among the staff and visitors to Hurricane Island, and has logged many miles going back and forth to the island on ferries and boats under Nate’s command.

You can see more of these four-footed mariners’ adventures on Facebook and Instagram if you search for Telltail Travels. 


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