The latter half of a canoe team is in charge of steering. By grace of having canoed before, I was granted this auspicious seat in the boat. But I did warn Claire that I'm horrid at steering, but she had a vague trust in my abilities, and that was good enough. Being in a canoe with someone is rather like playing doubles tennis: a team should work in tandem, know which area of the court to guard, and call dibs on balls lobbed down the middle. I was never great at doubles tennis. I am impatient, and impulsive, and dreadful at on-court communication. But on a tennis court, not much will happen if you don't call the middle ball and lose the point (though this hinges on a relatively uncompetitive spirit). In a canoe, lack of communication means that you are passing under a fishing line and oh shit I hope Claire hasn't been garroted on my watch (There was no spider web - that was sensationalism). In his attempt to help us out with the teamwork in a canoe thing, Andrew Jillings called himself our therapist, which seemed fair to me. Because I know that Claire likes to be in control, and I know that I have a tendency to overreact and shout completely useless directions at people, and I know that Claire despises incompetence, and I know that I wasn't exaggerating when I used 'horrid' to describe my steering skills.
Obviously, Nine-Mile Swamp is a pretty tame adventure, especially in comparison the sorts of things we've read about this semester. But getting into a canoe with your best friend, trusting that you'll still be best friends at the end of the trip in spite of a gross lack of skills and the presence of two strong personalities, is still an adventure, and there are still risks. That's the big reason I'm enjoying this book - Jill and Doug clearly know a thing or three about teamwork and the roles they must each play every day. The adventures would be interesting without the element of their partnership, but it is the element that makes the narrative engaging.