I am aqua phobic, although it is hard to recollect why I developed this irrational fear. It might have something to do with my swimming instructor pushing me into the deep end of the pool to get me to learn how to swim (I could always float, don’t laugh). That must have been almost 15 years ago. Yet to this date, I think twice before getting on to a water vessel or even for that matter crossing bridges that stretch for more than a couple of hundred metres. Don’t call me insane, I do venture out to the beaches but the moment the tide rises above my shin, it is time for me to head back to safety. So for the second part of our ‘Live the Adventure’ series with Honda WR-V, when Aninda told me that I would be helping out the good folks at The Farmstead with their kayaking business, my fears kicked in instantly.
“Think of kayaks as formula racers while canoes are more like touring cars. And much like racing cars, kayaks and their operators too have to carry safety equipment to protect themselves in hazardous situations”
For the uninitiated, kayaking is quite similar to rowing in a canoe. Except you sit quite low in the tub-like structure with a double-bladed paddle which is used to help you manoeuvre yourself. More so, kayaks are single-seaters and light as hell, obviously. Think of kayaks as formula racers while canoes are more like touring cars. And much like racing cars, kayaks and their operators too have to carry safety equipment to protect themselves in hazardous situations.
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The Farmstead is located a few kilometres ahead of the village of Mutha on the outskirts of Pune. Usually this is the road that we spend the most time on, shooting vehicles but today the Honda WR-V was on a different mission. Not only did we have to reach The Farmstead by noon but also hope that the gloomy day would not turn into a downpour. The compact dimensions of the WR-V make it easy to manoeuvre around traffic in the city. Those who travel this route know about the nasty bottleneck jam that takes place near Bhugaon which set us off by another half hour. Thankfully, the clutch operation is light enough to keep us trundling along at a slow but steady pace.
Once we got through that and out on to the Lap of Mutha, the peppy petrol began singing happily. She was surefooted, with barely any tyre squeal when cornering hard. And although I didn’t make up much time, I did have a bit of fun around my favourite set of twisties.
“Kayaks are extremely aerodynamic vessels. Right from the build, to the shape, to the material used, to the paddle type, everything is built to suit the operator”
Unlike last month where Afzal had to carry a tonne of spares and equipment along to watch Vinay ride ridiculously fast down a slope on a bicycle, this time around there were no spares to carry. Just me and Sameer along with his small yet life-saving gear on board. However, there was the kayak to be carried. The Honda WR-V is spacious enough to accommodate Sameer along with his kayak, but we must also consider safety, shouldn’t we? Also, I didn’t want to destroy his equipment. Kayaks are extremely aerodynamic vessels. Right from the build, to the shape, to the material used, to the paddle type, everything is built to suit the operator.
With the carabiners hooked to the car, the kayak was firmly secured on to the roof of the WR-V. I was told to take it easy so that the kayak doesn’t unmount and break into two pieces. Sameer was concerned. I promised I would not do anything silly. Once loaded, we rolled out carefully and on towards the point where they start their activities on the Mutha river. Sameer was curious as to whether the WR-V would go over the bad roads that lay ahead. I reassured him that the R in WR-V stands for Recreation and the ample ground clearance and 16-inch wheels would help it get through tough spots. And bad roads we did encounter. It was only a five-kilometre stretch but more than 80 per cent of it was broken tarmac. Gingerly we drove on until we reached an opening on a grassy flatland.
“The Honda WR-V has got a lovely spacious cabin which is loaded with creature comforts. And since this was a petrol motor, the NVH levels were absolutely brilliant”
All through our relatively short journey, Sameer looked wide-eyed and was beaming with delight. I asked him why? He said the perspective that he was getting from the passenger seat was as much if not more than what he gets inside the cockpit of his kayak. I thought he was exaggerating a bit but it wasn’t far from the truth. The Honda WR-V has got a lovely spacious cabin which is loaded with creature comforts. And since this was a petrol motor, the NVH levels were absolutely brilliant (read non-existent) so we could even hear the water gurgling and splashing over and around the rocks lining the road.
I helped Sameer unload his prized possession as he geared up to take on the Mutha river. I just helped him get close to the water and then hurried back into the cockpit of the WR-V. I had to get to the end of the course to pick up Sameer, didn’t I? There were just flashes where the road and the river ran parallel to each other. In fact, it crossed over once and I saw Sameer through the recesses of the bridge, in his element, battling the current to stay on course.
Watching the GoPro footage of Sameer’s run, gave me enough of a scare to make a vow not to indulge in such acts of adventure. I guess my aqua phobia will continue to persist. However, I would be more than happy to accompany other adventure junkies in their endeavours as long as I have the WR-V with me, after all it is one hell of an enabler, easily taking you to places where adventure awaits. But that isn’t all that it does. With all the comfort and convenience that it offers, you arrive at your destination fresh as a daisy to take on whatever challenge you have set yourself for the day.
And once you have been bitten by the adventure bug, you would be more than happy to have the Honda WR-V for company. Seriously, who needs an SUV when you have the WR-V with you?