Back on Terra Firma and once again united with the caninaturalist after a whirlwind trip to England and Ireland.
I began my adventure in the greater London area at the National Archives and National Maritime Museum, which is guarded by these very fierce hybrids:
It's a good thing one of them is half-lion, since there were tons of cat facts to be found inside including this one:
Polydactyl cats like Ari's housemate, Mouse (seen here balancing on her massive lobster claw-like paws), were considered good luck by sailors because they were so adept at catching mice. As a result, they were often the only animals (other than stowaways, of course) allowed on tall ships.
These are called catheads. They were located on the sides of tall ships near the anchor chain, which sometimes was raised or lowered out of their mouths. The caninaturalist is no expert on charismatic megafauna, but she thinks the first one looks a heck of a lot more like a baboon than it does a cat--even one as silly looking as Mouse.
The Maritime Museum is located in the same park as the Royal Observatory, which is home of the Prime Meridian. It's also an afternoon playground for Greenwich's dogs, including this very regal looking wolfhound:
After biding farewell to Shovel and his human friends, I made my way to Dublin, where I boarded the Jeanie Johnston, a recreated tall ship and subject of my next book project.
The salty sailors on board would have made my friend, Maverick, proud, and there was plenty of pirate talk on board. We were also accompanied by a particularly friendly group of dolphins who swam near the bow for a good part of our trip. Rumor has it that they are friends with Fungi, the famous Dingle Dolphin who has been greeting visitors to the Fenit port for nearly 20 years (long enough for sailors to speculate that, like most celebrity animals, Fungi might actually be three or four different individuals). Fungi had other marine engagements when I sailed by, but I'm sure he'll make time for me next visit.