CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. — Chris Hopkinson wanted to challenge himself, so he came up with a plan to paddle board the Chesapeake Bay. The whole Bay!
"The physical mission was to paddle the bay; the real goal is to raise money for Oyster Recovery Partnership," he said.
That goal of paddling 200 miles in 9 days was a daunting task.
"It's like a marathon everyday," he said.
So with a goal of 20 to 30 miles a day, Hopkins took off from the Havre De Grace and headed down the bay to the Atlantic Ocean. He grew up around the bay but got a better understanding of it's beauty.
"When I'm coming down the Honga River and there's nobody around and there's just water and green and untouched beauty, you really get an appreciation for the beauty of the bay."
Hopkinson knew this was going to be quite a physical challenge but Mother Nature decided to make it a little more interesting.
"Pretty high winds, 10 to 15 knots, which was creating some pretty good wave, 2 to 3 feet and then we had much cooler than normal temperatures."
And that was the first day. Chris knew out of 9 days, not all were going to be good, but taking a punch in the face on the first day had him rethinking this adventure. He was motivated from those following his journey.
"I mean, I got hundreds of text messages and social media posts and emails from people just saying how much they were behind me and how excited they were. I think everybody really liked having a break from all the really bad news to follow something really good."
So, on the 7th day he had heavy winds blowing from the side and head on and high waves and had to stop, his shortest day yet, 17 miles... 3 miles shy of goal for the day.
"I just couldn't take it."
So, with that challenge from Mother Nature, what does he do the next day?
"I took that day personally and the next day we had our best day which was 36 miles."
And then just one day left, off he goes with a little encouragement from his wife, Megan.
And he did get it done. Hopkinson raised $180,000 so far, right at their goal of $200,000. When a $10 donation puts a thousand oysters in the bay, a marathon a day seems worth it.