I returned a few days ago from Porto and the Douro Valley. I was there to visit some of the hotels, restaurants and all the stops we make as we paddle down the great Douro River. This was a very good visit and I finally met Jackie Dias who is the PR person for the Symington Family. Jackie and I have been in email contact for around 4 years and she has been extremely helpful on several occasions. Jackie gave me a tour of Graham’s Lodge in Gaia and again was a great source of information on places to visit. Jackie has been working in the Port business for many years and knows everything and everybody! I mentioned to her that I was looking for more information on the Douro River before the dams were built and especially about the rabelo boats that were used to ship the port wine from the Douro Valley to Gaia. When I returned home I received an email with a scanned copy of the of the very few books written on exactly the subject I was asking about. All the information I will be using as I work on the Douro River kayaking guide I’m writing. My vision is to product a guide that will not only cover important points to be taken into account when kayaking the river but also a bit of the history of the Douro Valley as well as the origin of wine production in the area. Since this Valley was inhabited as far back as 22 thousand BC. I have my work cut out for me. This is a big project and I started gathering information 4 years ago and hope to get down to the writing next winter. Fortunately I really enjoy all this and I’m in no rush to finish.
Organizing and guiding paddlers down the Douro River is usually really fun and that’s why I do it. This last 10 days has been anything but fun. It all started about two weeks ago when I started having email problems. I contacted my server operators who are really helpful people and they said they would look into it and get back to me right away. Get back they did and quickly. Turns out that my Douro Kayak emails were being used for massive spam packages so my email were stopped for two days and all the passwords were changed and I thought that was the end of the story but It wasn’t. The next day I was told that my entire website was suspected of having a virus and maybe my computer. The website was taken offline and since it would have to be completely redone I decided it was time to make another completely new site that is more user friendly and easier to read. For the last 10 days I have been working on this with my friend Adrian who is a website guru. Adrian has done 99% of the work but I have also been very busy and worried which for me is worse than working. The new www.dourkayak.com website is on line and mostly finished but will still get some tweeks in the next two weeks.We hope you like our new face and would love to get your comments.