The Wind in the Willows’ Water Rat pretty much sums up what seems to be the view of many a VW owner, whose adventures aren’t complete without a bit of a mess around in the water. Of course, owning a bus alone provides virtually endless opportunities for adventure, entertainment and exploration, but for lots of us the addition of a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or even a small boat adds an extra dimension to your travels. Whether it’s a calm, still expanse of lake, the gentle flow of a river, or the slight lull of the tide on an estuary, everything else falls away with the simplicity of being out there on the water with all the sights, sounds and simplicity that comes with it.
Our foray into adventures on the water came fairly soon after we joined the T5 family. A Saturday night second-hand eBay purchase after too many glasses of vino saw us welcome Realwood, a tiny dinghy with an even tinier four-stroke engine to the family. A week later we were down in Salcombe in Devon playing at modern-day versions of Swallows and Amazons, exploring creeks and beaches, tootling round the harbour, and enjoying bemused looks at the sight of two amateurs and a dog squeezed into a tiddler of a boat compared to some of the serious bits of machinery on show.
Fast forward a couple of years and a birthday expedition saw us hiring kayaks and paddleboards at Germany’s Bodensee for a day of watery adventure. The tranquility of gliding across the water away from civilisation, leaving the shore and all its noise behind, with only the sound of a paddle in the water, captivated me and me went on to add an inflatable ‘SUP’ to the kit list for the van.
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Lance & Lisa Beaver tell the story of their...‘Old School' Westfalia Bay
The history of our bus is varied. I heard that it used to belong to a soccer player who lived in it for a while, and a tale of a cross country trip that was taken in it. Since we’ve owned it, we have been to numerous car shows with our car club Kahiko Kula and enjoy that immensely, but taking it camping is our joy.
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