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Shelburne man is on a mission to share passion for kayaking


Tourism doesn’t end on the cobblestone streets of Shelburne’s historic waterfront district. 

Instead, the adventure is just beginning at the shore’s edge.

Matt DeLong is the owner of Candlebox Kayaking, and he takes visitors and locals alike on anything from chill to thrill adventures to explore the area from the water.

“We can take it up a notch or paddle out and watch the sunset,” says DeLong.

His shop is tucked away on the corner of the Shelburne Yacht Club parking lot, surrounded by a variety of kayaks and safety equipment. From there, adventurers set out for experiences like a popular two-hour sunset tour from the Shelburne Harbour to Hart’s Point. The sinking sun spreads across the water as you kayak, giving an entirely new perspective.  The low kayaks are just a breath above the water.

“It’s beautiful,” said DeLong.

A day tour to McNutts Island is also popular. Once there, visitors can walk amongst the wild sheep and have lunch at the island’s lighthouse.

For more advanced kayakers, DeLong offers a multi-day trip to the Tusket Islands, through Lower Argyle and the Lobster Bay. Keen-eyed paddlers will spot the namesake for his business, Candlebox Island, as they kayak by the tiny piece of land only big enough to hold the lighthouse that sits on it.

The more advanced trips are appealing to travelling kayakers visiting the area, he said. Options include tours of Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, where paddlers explore the turquoise waters with white, sandy beaches as a backdrop, or kayakers can kick things up a notch as they race the Roseway River while white water kayaking.

Matt DeLong is owner of Candlebox Kayaking an adventure outfit based out of Shelburne.

Those are trips close to his heart - DeLong first began canoeing and kayaking through Jake’s Landing at Kejimkujik National Park as a young man.

“I didn’t know it was something I could do as a real job,” he said.


Safety first

He can't stress enough the importance of getting proper instruction.

“You can’t know a place as well as someone who works the area every day,” said DeLong, who holds several certifications as a guide and instructor.

He's also is filled with eye-opening stories about the places he takes you on the water.

He remembers one trip where the water was covered in fog for a day and a half with no visibility. DeLong had to use his chart and compass to gauge time and calculate drift and currents.

“It’s called a dead reckoning when that happens,” he said.

While there are good maps and guidebooks available, he says there's no substitute to a live guide, and DeLong is one that can challenge experienced kayakers or make beginners feel at ease.

For those wanting a bit of excitement, DeLong also shows people how to surf the waves on Lockeport’s Crescent Beach.

“It’s awesome,” he said.  “People have a blast.”

Hitting the crashing waves might look intimidating, but it gets a bit easier each time, he promises.

“I can show you the mechanics and how to do it safely,” he said.

He also offers coaching clinics, ranging from one to five days, to introduce paddlers to kayaking, allowing them to explore that much more of Nova Scotia.

One of his goals is debunking the myth that kayaking is a risky sport.

“Any risks are easily mitigated with some education,” he said.

DeLong has guided over 1,000 people in his career. Now in its second season, Candlebox Kayaking is getting a lot of happy customers.

His extroverted nature and taste for adventure line him up perfectly as a guide.

“I like introducing people to the sport whether it’s through a guided tour or coaching,” he said.  “There is so much water surrounding us it’s a shame not to be on it.”

Visit for more info

Did you know?

Matt DeLong is certified in multiple areas, including:

• Certified Sea Kayak Guide Alliance of British Columbia

• Paddle Canada Level 2 instructor

• Paddle Canada Level 4 skills sea kayaker

• Leader 2 instructor 2, white water kayaking through Canoe/Kayak Canada.

Candlebox Kayaking provided a fresh, local lunch through the Finest Kind filled with meats and cheeses perfect after a days paddle.


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