Douro River, Portugal

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Kayaking the Douro River

EXPEDITION LEADER PRE-TRIP SAFETY TALK

Kayaking is an exhilarating way to experience the sights of Portugal; however, it is also an activity that requires important safety precautions. Because the safety of our guests is paramount, our Expedition Leaders and staff are trained in water emergencies and the safest paddling techniques. Prior to the first day of paddling, our Expedition Leader will present a comprehensive safety talk. Please pay close attention to this presentation. The talk will last about 30 minutes and is designed to maximize the safety and enjoyment of your paddling experience. Topics to be covered include but are not limited to:

  • Expedition Leader and Staff Roles
  •  Gear, including required PFDs, what to wear, what to pack, and Nat Hab- provided equipment
  • Paddling Techniques & Tips
  • Paddle Signals
  • Communication on the Water
  • Kayaking Hazards
  • Safe Entry & Exit
  • In-Water Demonstration

EQUIPMENT

We will provide all kayaking equipment, including boating and safety gear. A mix of single and double hard shell polyethylene kayaks with rudders will be available. These crafts are stable, comfortable, durable and move very well through the water.

Individual preferences for single versus double kayaks will be taken into consideration and accommodated whenever possible. Note that only three single kayaks are available per departure and need to be reserved in advance. Please be aware, however, that final assignments will be made at the discretion of our Expedition Leader and based on the best interest and safety of the group.

HYDRATION

Hydration is key to maintaining good health while paddling. Apart from the required PFD, the most important item to bring along while paddling is a full bottle of water to maintain proper hydration. You will be surprised at how quickly you can become dehydrated while paddling, even if the air temperature or water feels cool. Please bring along the water bottle provided with your pre-trip package, which can be re-filled with drinking water throughout the expedition. It is helpful to bring a carabiner to attach your bottle to your kayak. Another way to easily access water is with a 2-liter water bladder (i.e., Camelbak or similar).

WEATHER

As safety is always our primary concern, should we experience inclement weather, we may be forced to limit our kayaking activities. We will do our best to reschedule paddling excursions and/or provide alternatives should inclement weather prohibit us from participating in any scheduled activities.

PREPARING PHYSICALLY

The best exercise to prepare you for a paddling adventure is to go paddling. Kayaking at your nearest lake or closest seashore will strengthen your abdominal, leg, arm and shoulder muscles. You can also take day/weekend trips with kayak outfitters in your local area. The more fit you are, the more you will enjoy your adventure. Aerobic exercises like long-distance swimming are great alternatives to get in shape for paddling as well.

SUN PROTECTION

The sun on the water can be very intense; therefore, we recommend using a sunscreen appropriate for your level of sensitivity to the sun and wearing long sleeves (if needed), a protective hat and polarized sunglasses.

RESTROOM STOPS ON THE RIVER

Toilet facilities are very limited along the river. While we try to find restrooms at each landing (and are generally successful), sometimes they are not available, and we must utilize a secluded spot in Mother Nature. Our Expedition Leader will also have “wag bags” on hand, in case of emergencies and will go over the process of using them with the group, should you have any concerns.
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