NORTON SHORES, Mich. — A young woman and two brothers were well on their way Sunday evening on their planned 80-mile paddle board crossing of Lake Michigan from Wisconsin to Michigan.
Craig Masselink, 23; his 19-year-old brother, Trent; and their friend 21-year-old Ginny Melby left Milwaukee's McKinley Beach about 8:45 a.m. CDT. They said they expected to take 30 hours to cross the lake to their families' cottages in the Muskegon, Mich., suburb of Norton Shores.
An online tracking system showed them about 45 miles from the Michigan shoreline at 7:20 p.m. EDT Sunday.
The crossing is a fundraiser for the charity group Restore International, a group that focuses on social justice issues in Uganda.
"Day one, Trent is up first," Melby said in a posting on her Facebook page shortly after the launch. "Waves are tame, wind is mild, and it's slightly overcast. ... Praise God for the most perfect conditions! He is so faithful, always. See ya, Milwaukee!"
They said they planned to take turns standing on the paddle board while the other two rode in a 40-foot support boat owned by Bruce Wolfert, a friend of a friend. They planned to rotate paddling duties each hour to maximize rest time for all three.
Wolfert's contribution of the boat was a pleasant surprise, Melby told MLive.com. They had originally planned to use a 24-foot boat.
The availability of a larger boat also made it possible for Melby's mother, Karen, and the Masselinks' father, Al, to accompany the battle boarders.
Darkness presents special challenges, Trent Masselink said.
"Craig has a little headlamp, so besides the lights on the boat we'll have that and we'll have glow sticks as well," he said. "We've tried to think of every worst-case scenario that we can and then plan accordingly so nothing bad happens that we're not prepared for."
Tracking the paddlers: http://bit.ly/1bh7btm
Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/15po0Qa
Restore International: http://www.restoreinternational.org