Mar 29 2015

In the Same Boat

Cast a Line

After many years in the stones-and-bones trade, when I reconstructed buried landscapes for archaeologists racing to clear sites before the bulldozers moved in — and contributed chapters to reports that I could be reasonably sure no one but me would ever read — I decided to try my hand at writing about a few of my favorite things: canoeing, kayaking, cycling, and hillwalking. And in the fullness of time, that led me to Paddling.net, as it then was, where I signed on as one half of the team responsible for In the Same Boat, a weekly column that’s now been running for 18 years. (The other half of the team? Farwell Forrest, my sometime bowman and longtime partner.)

Eighteen years is a goodish run, to be sure, and 900-odd columns add up to a lot of words — more than two million, by my reckoning. But Farwell and I still have something to say, and In the Same Boat can still be found on the virtual pages of what is now Paddling.com. Few long voyages are without their shoals and storms, however, and ours has been no exception. When Paddling.net got its makeover in late 2016, many familiar things were jettisoned, and among them was our comprehensive subject index. We miss it, and so will any reader trying to find the one column in 900 that addresses a particular topic of interest. Search engines can help, of course, but they can’t be relied on. And since most of our old columns were stripped of their original titles — not to mention their bylines, datelines, and copyright notices — an online search will often be an exercise in frustration, rivaling the notorious quest for the lone needle in the proverbial haystack. That would be bad enough in itself, but even if fortune smiles and a search is successful, the sought-after column may then prove incomplete or garbled. Our original formatting was another casualty, and the new site’s CSS hasn’t been brilliant at restoring what was stripped away.

The bottom line? We’re working to put things right, but that’s going to take many months, during which time our backlist won’t be easy to access. So if there’s an article you’re looking for and can’t find, drop me a line. I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

— Tamia Nelson

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In the Same Boat