When you first step into Jean you have two options; climb over to the front of the canoe, or work your way into the back (now that I think about it your third option is to immediately get out and find a boat with a motor). It may sound like a simple choice, but your experience for the day depends on which end you choose. Now remember I'm still pretty new to this whole canoeing thing so I'm totally allowed to change these descriptions in a month.
Front Seat (The Garmin Seat)
If you find yourself in the front of the canoe be ready to act as both the lookout and the muscle. I'm calling this the Garmin seat because your main job is to keep an eye out for bogeys (rocks, stumps, boats, jilted lovers who are swimming after you), and then announce which way to go. Also just like your favorite GPS you can yell directions all day, but actually making sharp turns isn't really up to you (we’ll get to that later). Knowing you can only lazily persuade the canoe right or left gives you the opportunity to really take in your surroundings. You have an unobstructed view of your terrain, and you'll always get the first set of eyes on every upcoming landmark. In addition, not having to worry about turning allows your mind to wander and really think about the important things in life (like your Mt. Rushmore of African song birds).
Back Seat (The Magellan Seat)
Go ahead and strap on your captain’s hat because your day is all about guiding the boat. Whether it's a series of wide paddles for a wide turn, or using the paddle as a ruder for a sharp one that responsibility is on you. Here it's a constant battle to keep the canoe straight. You not only want to be efficient with your strokes, but you're also bound for a few strange looks if you're the, “drunken canoeist” zigzagging your way down the river. As for views let's hope the back of your partner’s head is ridiculous (I'll be ok if just one person gets that obscure reference) because it's all you'll be looking at. Now your mind can wander, but again you have to work with the ebb and flow of the river. If you get too lost in thought you can bet you'll be as embarrassed as a beached whale (which is not a laughing matter) when you get stuck in shallow water.
(What I have to look at all day when I sit in the back)
Overall it takes two to tango. Before you get out on the water make sure you have some chemistry with your partner or it could be a long day (which is also great life advice). Other than that be prepared to work (or practice your acting skills so you can play it off like you're exhausted) because the canoe only goes as far as you paddle it. And now after reading this article hopefully you'll at least know what’s in store when you pick your seat.