“Respect the lake, because it can get ya.”
Such were the words of wisdom recently spoken by Goshen resident and sailing enthusiast Bob Zook, who along with friends and fellow Goshenites Don Yost and Rod Kauffman this past weekend played a major roll in the rescue of five troubled kayakers on northern Lake Michigan.
According to Zook, the trio of friends made their way up to the lake on Friday, June 28, for their biannual sailing trip, which has been a long-held tradition among the group for years.
“It’s just kind of a getaway with friends,” Zook said of the trip. “We enjoy sailing, and this trip is a twice a year event for us. I own a (32-foot) sail boat, and we have a slip up in Suttons Bay, Mich. We actually came up Friday and anchored out at the South Manitou Island on Saturday.”
Having anchored at the island overnight, Zook said the trio first noticed the group of five kayakers heading out onto the lake at around mid-afternoon Sunday.
“We saw them take off Sunday afternoon about 1:30 p.m. out into big waves and big wind,” Zook said. “There were five of them, and we talked about it a bit and just said offhandedly that they must be really good kayakers to be out in those conditions. After that we kind of lounged around a bit, and then pulled up anchor and started sailing a bit. While sailing we decided maybe we ought to check in on them, so we went past them the first time and it looked like they were OK. They gave us no signal of distress, so we just sailed on by.”
After a bit more leisurely sailing, the trio decided once again to check in on the kayakers. They turned the boat around and headed back to where they thought the kayakers should be, but didn’t immediately find them.