Amelia Island a Town Meant For All Souls
“The Bald Eagle Narrative: Part 1”
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Laden with Palm trees and vibrant locals, Amelia Island is a town meant for all souls, wise and daring alike! The local fare is delectable and a postcard-worthy backdrop from all angles as you mill about town. Local artists sound off, echoing up and down the Centre Street drag. On their nightly walks on Centre, guests in our town get a chance to be a part of something local and close to our hearts. In a bigger city, you may get misdirected to “designated tourist” areas. Here, your fine dining server from across the island may very well be your drinking buddy come shifts end. The mood aboard the Bald Eagle is nicely laid back and I’m taking advantage of a beautiful day to step aboard an Amelia River Cruise. No better way to spend the morning. These tours offer a completely original perspective of Amelia Island, and its immediate neighbors. Marveling at all that’s brought us to this point as a community and a tourist destination all understated and impressive. They can only be surpassed by the people, the fabric, whom create it all. Captain Pajama (puh-JAM-uh) Dave Voorhees! Plug: Capt. Dave also happens to own a store on a downtown side street called Pajama life. Most unique souvenir I can think of!
Today, I come to you from aboard the Bald Eagle with Capt. Pajama Dave at the Helm. It’s not my first Amelia River tour. I perform aboard a tour from time to time. It’s a picturesque morning as Fall begins to make its entrance. I feel today could be my most enjoyable tour. I’ve never had the chance to sit back, and enjoy learning more about the marvelous circumstances that make our island tick! Seating over 50 passengers, with her accommodating size, the boat provides an intimate setting to all on the manifest every departure. It’s all smiling faces and eager eyes coming aboard to get a glimpse where our island treasures lay. With delightfully quirky boat Captains for whom passion has collided with their love and knowledge of the Amelia Island culture, I’m told any tour is sure to deliver. With a few ice-breakers from our Captain on departure, we set to the waterway. It’s already a sight, with beautiful sail boats both historic and new resting alongside. As we begin our course along the channel, we first come to the local shrimp boats that were the be-all and end-all of the islands economy in the beginning. After all, the modern day shrimping industry was invented here with local inventions such as the otter trawl net (an innovation of shrimping nets that make shrimping possible from many angles, even a bridge). In the 1990’s we were the Shrimping Capital of the World. When regions of Asia began farm raising shrimp, loading them with all the things in the world you’d never want to consume. The flooding of these shrimp (far cheaper to the buyer) made it nearly not worthwhile for our local shrimp boats to even go out. Shrimp coming from these areas have ingredients. “I can’t imagine shrimp should have any other ingredient other than shrimp,” exclaimed Capt. Dave as we cruised by the Shrimp Trawlers. To live local and buy local is our credo in everyday life, especially regarding what we eat.
Next we come to the Port of Fernandina. Its terminal service provides pulp and paper as well as steel exports, machinery, auto parts, beverages, chemicals, building materials and food products. Container lines from the port serve routes to Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Aruba, Curacao and Bermuda. Leaving the port and the massive red crane that hangs over the channel in our wake, we come to Rock-Tenn. Here an array of paper products are produced, particularly container liners. These two facilities produce over 1000 jobs when our town is a mere 17000 strong. As we trawl alongside of few of our island-made goods establishments, sighting Egrets and Blue Herons, we turn the bend to one of our Islands most revered Spectacles. Next week I’ll be directing my attention to a couple of the other pins in the Map!
Learn more about the tours on the intracoastal.
Come and enjoy some of the most amazing sunsets.