Boat Sounds, Cape May, Docktales and Plans

We are learning how Selkie sounds.

New sounds.

So far, nothing bad.

But when you are in a boat, you hear things you otherwise would not hear at home.

You hear sounds transmitted through the water. Other boats. Boats docking. Boats moving slow or fast. Big ships. Small runabouts. Waves lapping against the hull.

Sometimes there are sounds we can’t identify, and we talk about what they might be.

Then, there are sounds that Selkie makes in the middle of the night.

Sounds that make you get out of bed to investigate what those sounds were.

The sounds are different when she’s at dock, versus out at anchorage. 

So far, she’s been fine, just making little noises.

However, the worst sound we’ve heard so far was when I was taking a nap in our berth in the middle of the afternoon.

We were at dock, and I woke to the sound of a boat coming into the harbor. 

I heard the boat getting closer.  Then I heard bow thrusters and shifting transmissions in rapid succession, and loud voices rising in panic….

And then…

CRUNCH. (It was really more of a very, very loud metallic bang close to my head, like a rather large collision.)

Another boat had hit Selkie’s bow sprit and anchor. 

Worse, I could feel Selkie move suddenly. 

Not only another boat hit us, they hooked one of the flukes of our anchor and were struggling to get away, dragging Selkie with her.

I shot out of the berth and ran up to the pilot house.

I looked up front, and by then Selkie was free. I could not see much of any damage. But I saw another boat trying to turn and back into the adjacent slip to us.

Two dockhands were standing there with their mouths open, looking at me.

For those who haven’t boated on the east coast, many marinas have slips with pilings and tiny finger docks.  This means you must back into the slip if you want to get off your boat. 

There is usually not much room to make a turn between docks and boats. 

Backing your boat is not a difficult thing to do if you can see what is behind you, and there is no wind or cross current pushing your boat one way or another.

In this case, it was another trawler, with no visibility towards the rear, there was a 2-knot cross current, and a 20-knot crosswind in the same direction.

There was a woman on the back of the trawler, trying to direct her husband while he steered from the pilot house, and neither were speaking in a calm voice.

It was a very difficult situation, and every boater in the marina was sympathetic to this couple’s situation. We’d all been there.

But we all were not only paying attention, but also standing by to fend the trawler off from our boat if it came close.

After a lot of yelling and confusing direction giving, we were able to get the trawler in the slip. 

I checked over Selkie, sorted out the anchors that were bounced around, and determined that Selkie had not suffered any damage.

I then decided I no longer needed a nap.

Cape May

We’ve been enjoying Cape May.

Enjoying downtown Cape May

It hasn’t changed much in the nearly 50 years since I’d last been here.

Flower gardens are everywhere

We have been riding our bikes around, talking to the fishermen, looking at the Victorian homes around here, and enjoying the fresh sea food. We have gotten our groceries, walked the beaches and in general had a good time.

Some of the Architecture
The beaches are beautiful, and starting the week after Memorial Day will cost $8 to access

But we are starting to feel restless in the harbor and waiting for the weather to clear.

There are probably 20 boats doing the Loop in Cape May right now. We are all waiting for the weather window to open. It’s been windy and a little rough outside the Cape May inlet.

We all got together and had a little cocktail party. Except we don’t call it “cocktails”, we call it “docktales.”

Docktales was something Libbie and I had been looking forward to, because it meant we would meet fellow Loopers.


One of the things about doing the loop is that you meet people who have a similar passion as you. People from all over the US, Canada and a few other countries.

We come from different walks of life, but we all have something in common: a love of boating. 

It’s a fun community. 

More Docktales

Docktales are all about meeting other fellow Loopers, making friendships, exchanging information and telling stories (hence the “tales” part of the name). 

All the boats are different.  There are Tolleycrafts, Mainships, Albins, and many other makes and models of boats.  Some were built in the 1970’s or earlier, others are brand new.  Some have a lot of stuff on them, others have barely any navigation equipment on them at all.

And now we’ve met some new people.

Including the people who hit us.

We also have bumped into friends we have out here.  It’s been fun to see everyone.


We are targeting to leave Saturday morning after a line of thunderstorms projected to come through late Friday night passes by us.

We still plan to move up to Atlantic City and anchor out Saturday, and then go up the rest of the Jersey Coast to Sandy Hook. 

With any luck, the next post will be somewhere close to New York City. We expect to be there later this week.

By Tad Sheldon

I'm a retired Silicon Valley Technologist and Director. I teach skiing as a 4th (5th? 6th?) career for fun, and am passionate about Boating. I'm even more passionate about my family and friends. I volunteer occasionally for non-profit Boards, and currently serve as the Secretary of the Board for Western Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America / American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

6 replies on “Boat Sounds, Cape May, Docktales and Plans”

Luv the blog of your adventures- keep feeding us. I’m Mackinaw w/ Al, Karen and the Coopers – Meg and her family arrive tonight. Cool, cloudy and a bit raw here but always beautiful here as you know. Some sun expected this weekend.

Dave Smith

Mobile (617) 834-4124| Sent from my iPhone


Liked by 1 person

Well, been there dun sol
Me of that!!!
It anchor in the bay on East side of South Manitou one night , a fellow boating “friend “ ( who hadn’t rafted with us and another friend) drifted down into us during the dark of night!! He fowled my friends anchor line, severing it! Neither of us were aware of the incident! Until I was in my dinghy next morning getting ready to go ashore and I noticed my friends anchor line hanging straight down into the water! I decided to pull up the slack in the line only to find that 10 feet of was all that was there. No anchor! That’s how close our fellow boater a head come to us and leaving us with only one line keeping us from being wrecked on shore!
Needless to say words were exchanged between captains about not being advised during the night!!!
The afore mentioned boating friend isn’t exactly a close friend!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s