The Sleepy Sailor
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Laden with Palm trees and vibrant locals, Amelia Island is a haven meant for all souls. The wise and daring alike can enjoy its splendor and docility! The local fare is delectable, and a postcard worthy portrait comes into frame at every turn. I challenge you to find another place where the locals are so tightly knit and welcome tourists and migrating northerners showing the same compassion for all. Our own paradise offers a ‘shopping fix’ for the most cultured of collectors and garment-loving souls, while the weather is 2nd only to Hawaii, which even warrants a saying we have here, “if you don’t like the weather…wait five minutes, and it’ll change.” As any travel destination will boast, it is not the scenery, nor lack thereof that manifests your fondest memories of a tourism experience….– It’s that one tour guide, the guide that wowed you with history, captivating your own circumstances – so directly – that befuddlement is your only available expression! …Or, perhaps it’s that bartender at the local dive that pours you a shot of history through handed down elixir remedies sacred to all.. Or, it’s the veteran captains, sailors, and fisherman coming to port to frequent their favorite bar stool, (if even only for a couple of pints before casting off into the mystic)….though any you choose from as your favorite local moment to encounter and celebrate, all help set and solidify the island vibe. It is the people – the fabric – who are the gears behind the machine that makes the location so desirable. Once the sun sets over the marina on the western stretch of the island, the historic district becomes something more than just window framed shops. Downtown Fernandina Beach’s music scene has landed some of the finest talent around on Amelia Island. Having spent a stent in the service industry, I will speak for the restaurant scene proudly. In historic Amelia, you can bury your chompers into several styles of cooking all the way from family-style Italian, to traditional Cuban cuisine. Once the late night hours begin, local musicians begin to sound off in the plethora of bars to choose from for your night out on the town, echoing and bellowing down the Centre Street strip.
There’s no way to convey the proper amount of gratitude we have for those who make the island tick! For now, Id like to single out one of the many! Someone I’m proud to call both a friend and my Captain. Captain Pajama (puh-JAM-uh) Dave Voorhees! While owning his own night-night apparel shop, Pajama Life (which everyone needs to drop in and check out on 2nd Street) he is also a revered Captain manning the helm for Amelia River Cruises. I have known Dave for years, and once I starting playing some shows on the cruises for adults I was able to sit down with him and ask a couple Questions. Question’s that can’t help but cross your mind as you take your seat behind the Pajama sporting sea Captain!
What chain of events led to you becoming a Captain with Amelia River Cruises?
“I started working for Kevin and Cecelia as they opened Amelia River Cruises. At that time, I was doing fishing charters with Burgess Llewellyn building houses and hanging storm shutters with Kevin, whom always loved the rich history of our island, and loved to share that history with people. And the McCarthy family gave me that opportunity. Tada! And I love it!”
Either you are always coming from/going to bed or you are purposely wearing your pajamas every day. Can you shed some light on the mystery?
“It started when I left New Jersey. I told myself, “I’m going to be comfy from here on out!” That was thirty years ago. Through always wearing my pj’s, I came to find out that I just liked the comfort and loved the looks I got from all the people! Now it’s just kind of what I do!”
We should never take for granted, the refreshingly original people that we are fortunate enough to be surrounded with as we move about in paradise’s shadow. Our lives are only as valuable as the relationships we build and those we keep in our company. Be Well. And in the words of a great friend and a wise man…