Should A Couple Rent a Two-Person Canoe?
when i asked my grandparents, who have been married 59 years, some of their secrets to a happy marriage, without hesitation they said “never rent a two-person kayak!” i was once in a double-person kayak when i was younger and because the other person and i weren’t communicating well, we flipped and i have been intimidated by self-powered boats ever since.
i am currently in panama city beach, florida where my in-laws now live (yes please family on the beach) and they took us on an adventure to echofina creek canoe. it’s a 7 mile trip down the river (there is a pretty good current so it’s not super intense paddling). heeding my grandparents advice, we opted for the two-person canoe (instead of a kayak) and crossed our fingers it wouldn’t end in us bitterly wishing the other would just jump out of it.
*remember to take of your wedding bands for any type of water activity because it’s not worth the risk of losing them…that will not help you surviving a two-person canoe trip.
you need to see my cute in-laws too! they took the risk on a kayak and also survived!
so should a couple rent a two-person canoe? the most important thing about a couple surviving a two-seater canoe trip is to start the trip off liking each other and not being in a fight. this was essential because if we would have been mad at each other or had some sort of passive aggressive thing going on, one of us probably would have blown the safety whistle and been ‘rescued’ by the company or smacked one another on the head with the paddle.
i sat in the front with my husband in back where he steered the boat using the paddle. it took us a while to get the groove down and even longer for me to stop being so strong headed and listen to his instructions of “paddle two left” or “three little ones right.”
sometimes i struggle with wanting everything to be so 50/50 in our marriage and it’s something i’m working on because that’s not what’s always best. i realized that he had a lot more experience navigating a canoe (4 years at camp) compared to my experience of being 8 years old in a canoe with my grandpa where i did absolutely nothing except eat cookies.
we were both adding to keeping our canoe upright by me scouting out hidden logs in the water and calling them out so he could steer us around them while i powered us through. i was also on massive spider watch so he wouldn’t guide us directly through their webs where they would inevitably lay eggs in my ear.
the scenery was incredible and along the way were natural springs that fed to the river. they were so clear (and freezing) that we had no choice but to get out and explore. it was interesting to see where they intersected with the river.
most of the river was a reddish-orange color and thankfully too cold for alligators but these springs were incredible! we saw schools of fish and even some baby snapping turtles! it was like we were walking through glass (or i guess really clear water).
the main point of contention on our canoe was when my husband suddenly turned all ‘mr. captain of the river’ and felt the need to stand up to navigate. he felt powerful and said it was fun to stand while i felt every movement of his body in the boat and eventually got annoyed. other than that, we got along pretty well for the whole 4.5 hours down the river.
we made sure to be complimentary of each other along the way. this consisted of me letting him know it was actually pretty sexy that he could so smoothly steer us between a fallen tree and submerged log (it was) and him saying i was a good scouter, paddler and snack-hander-outer.
renting a two-person canoe absolutely tested our communication skills of needing to be patient in the beginning as we learned the roles we’d be in for the day and also letting each other know what we needed. at one point we got stuck in a torrential downpour ( 1/2 inch of rain in our boat afterwards) so i had to let him know i needed his instructions of which side to paddle to be louder and clearer because i couldn’t hear them. he needed me to hold the paddle correctly so i could move us quicker. fair enough.
part of me was very nervous that our adventure in a two-person boat wouldn’t go very well but i am happy to report that we made it and had a lot of fun along the way. i will say that if you are in fight or argument with your spouse or have a hard time communicating, it would be best to rent individual boats because it will only add to the turmoil and could result in pushing the other out into the river.
i still think my grandparents are right about this because it does take a while to adjust and work together but it can be possible if you are both committed to working together and neither of you get hangry!