Trip was relatively smooth with minor incident. Ellen took a dunk due to unpreparedness and my operator error in the very first wave (not even a big one) above needle eye. She was holding an adult beverage in one hand and paddle in the other (she was ready to one-handed paddle assist in case I screwed up, go figure), and I tried to correct my boat angle with the wrong oar right above the wave - hit the wave sideways and she slid off the cooler into the drink. Ellen was laughing the whole time (good thing??), and was very proud of the fact that she threw the beverage back in the boat without submerging it in the river and rendering it ruined. I was rather uptight the rest of the day, which in turn upset her that I was being too "Safety Bob" and not enjoying myself. The other unfortunate incident on the river (albeit unrelated to us) also heightened my concern.
The lessons we learned for the day was that (1) Ellen does not like riding on the cooler (she felt too high in the air, her reasoning for why she took the dunk), and (2) I need 8" oar towers for my frame to make the rowing stroke more comfortable. I started to get used to "pulling away" from stuff, but I found it counter-intuitive to the skill set gained in kayaking and running the paddle raft so I will need some more practice. We both took turns on the oars, and it may be a few years before my dream of basking in the warm glow of intoxicated fish hauling from the front of the boat with Ellen at the oars takes shape. Thanks all, be safe.