Sam McDonald: Up and Coming

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Sam McDonald Guitar and Vocals


In the palm tree laden land of Amelia Island, there resides an exception pool of talented artists, entrepreneurs and musicians. With a tourist season that lasts longer than most destination spots, there’s great demand for talent to perform at the local venues promising live entertainment, nightly. Sam has a way of approaching every cover song he learns with the notion of the best possible meanings behind the lyrics. Crafting his vocals to match the original artists’’ original delivery intentions. This is no easy task when one of your influences is the ever-mysterious lyricist, Dave Matthews. Just beginning start in the local music scene a few short years ago, Samuel McDonald as already become a favorite among the regular crowd stationed nightly at one of the top-notch watering holes. Most of the purveyors of fine spirits make business well in view, as the historic district of downtown Fernandina Beach holds the majority of night-life locations around.

Sam McDonaldYou can see that McDonald is very much enjoying himself in his chosen path. If you happen to ever catch him not wearing that big smile on his face, take a picture and hold on to it. It could be one of a kind! Music has no qualms about how deeply it affects those who latch on to pursuing the rewards it offers the chosen few. Speaking from personal experience in this area, music has a certain grasp on those of us lucky enough to find a bit of music in ourselves. Once you know it exists within you, the only thing to do is to realize your potential, or wonder what might’ve been if you’d jumped. There is no end game. There’s only the pursuit.

Like many professional solo artists, Sam chooses his weapon of choice wisely. The guitar lends itself to the performers physical urges. When music brings about emotion with the artist, the body wants to get involved as well. Try movin’ and groovin’ while attempting a complex classical piano piece. “It’s a magical thing, the guitar. It allows you to be the whole band in one, to play rhythm and melody, sing over the top. And as an instrument for solos, you can bend notes, draw emotional content out of tiny movements, vibratos and tonal things which even a piano can’t do.” Those are words spoken by David Gilmour. Without a doubt in sight, rest assured you will not find words more factual in an Encyclopedia Britannica collection. Sam embodies the message Gilmour was conveying in his words. Excellently executing the most challenging of cover songs, both vocally and instrumentally, Sam is one of few that knows how to harness the full range of his musical talent, and can tackle certain songs from artists like Collin Hay (Men at Work) and Dave Matthews Band that many performers don’t dare attempt. Be sure to call our offices and book your next cruise for the BYOB twilight tour soon. Ask when you might be able to book a seat on a cruise to see the incomparable Sam McDonald doing his thing he does so well!


Great Music; lot’s of fun; your beverage and the greatest sunset…  it does’t get much better than that.


Get your tickets today!





Hupp N’ Ray – One of the Island’s Most Popular Duos

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Hupp N Ray in Concert


Live music is one thing you can count on an Islander to love. We pride ourselves on bringing that talent aboard our twilight and BYOB (adults only) tours, many leaving with a new favorite gig. The water offers a solace and life lets the music take the wheel, if for only a short while. Whether be it the starving acoustic songwriter, a preferred client at Saks Fifth Avenue, or a Wall Street hotshot out for one more 0 behind the decimal, all professional pursuits born of passion come with their many awards, courtesy of indentured sacrifice. The best of us form long-lasting relationships and an ever-changing chemistry between ourselves and most trusted partners in vocation. The best of us learn ways to work in cohesion and turn out to be talent like Fernandina Beach -founded, “Hupp N’Ray.Alan Huppman and Ray Hetchka know what they want to play, and do soin effortless fashion. Drawing on influences from America’s love affair with the hypnotic tones of soft rock, the 60’s and 70’s. Peppered into the set list along the way, these “yacht club” pro’s will throw in a top 40 cover on you just to keep it interesting. Having known Hupp for over a decade now, both as friends and fellow performance artists, you’d be hard pressed to find some as versatile when it comes to switching the proverbial gears. You could fill up the hybrid and drive until the tank was empty, and not find a single duo that creates the sound they manifest, using the genres they gravitate towards.



Every harmonic note hit in unison for the first time, random acts of kindness, and that adored, yet fleeing sense of true happiness from hearing the right song at the right time. Influenced by some of the most iconic vocally-driven bands of all time, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, David Wilcox, Don Henley, and Glenn Fry, Hupp approaches each song as if it was his own. Ray‘s bass tone delivers a low-end rhythm, staying in some of the tempos of certain songs in the set list – that is not always and easy task. Both rural towns in the middle of nowhere, and massive cities all have a heartbeat that is their culture, there strength. Take New Orleans. Indigenous “N’awlins” Jazz scene, made famous by the very popular show, an HBO series covering the economic fallout and recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina. The music that kept those people together holds powers that world leaders can’t seem to wield with all their reach. Yet, one voice of a culture washed clean could heal a broken city. You see, music isn’t only important to how we experience and react in life, it is essential. Hupp N’ Ray bring the kind of music that keeps the fire lit.

They are quite a team on stage, and are just as gracious in any other setting. This would be a BYOB ticket to everyone to stay on the lookout. Come out and welcome this Dina’ duo to the ARC family!


Hupp N’ Ray are scheduled to perform June 17 on the Adult Twilight BYOB Cruise.


Get your tickets today and join the fun!




Living Wild in Florida

Sunday, May 21st, 2017



It’s no secret that biodiversity is threatened by the rapid growth of cities, and Florida, while home to three National Parks and a huge variety of other natural destinations, isn’t immune to this particular threat. It does have, however, the advantage of facing this while armed with advanced science and the overall prevailing attitude among people towards having a better relationship with the environment, according to data provided by Sunshine State Survey. The Sunshine State may very well set an example for how urban-dwellers can sustainably co-exist with other critters, with firsthand knowledge of how their survival means a lot for the upkeep of our natural resources.

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Let’s Preserve our Precious Wetlands

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Intracoastal Fernandina Beach


For the longest period of time, waterways all around the globe were thought of in only one light. Littering and playing ignorant to all the ecosystems affected by man’s actions has led us to a point that no longer allows us to claim ignorance. The wetlands in northeast Florida were once thought of as nothing more than economically stunted areas in need of reclamation. So, in the 1990’s, a series of canals and levees were built. These ditches had a sole purpose: to drain the wetlands, making way for economic opportunities. Agriculture and urban development projects took precedent over the protection of Florida’s wetlands. In fact, since Florida became a state in 1845, over 70 percent of the wetlands have been converted into projects like the aforementioned. It’s an incredibly easy philanthropic ploy to talk about changing things, and to make promises to expand the conversation regarding our environmental woes and pending efforts. Yet, action isn’t always taken. Ernest Hemingway gave us quite a few “real talk” moments throughout his life. He once wrote, “Do sober what you say you will do when you are drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut!” While alcohol is not likely the most determinant factor regarding our lack of environmental awareness and activism, too many empty promises are made by both private citizens and government agencies.

Sunset at Fernandina BeachIt goes without saying, one hundred years is quite a long time. We are far better informed about pollution and environmental protection than the chaps that set out to destroy the wetlands in the name of progress. Nowadays, we have begun to grasp just how important the wetlands are to the nourishment of the indigenous Floridian wildlife, water quality and the economic flow into our communities from tourism dollars – many of which come from tourists in search of the perfect marsh-framed sunset snapshot.

Even though it took the better part of a century, notice has finally begun to be taken, and actions have followed suit. What have we learned? Well, when we allow our wetlands to be deteriorated in such ways, the effects are compounded over time. Many of these are not only irreversible, but the devastation that ensues as a result doesn’t end, even in the event we were to cease destroying them. Progress is quite poorly defined. Profit and progress are not synonymous. The conversion of wetlands into developed urban areas has resulted in a number of negative impacts on the environment as a whole. Things like increased rate of erosion, storm water retention ineffectiveness, wildlife habitat destruction and the slowed release of nutrients needed to sustain the countless ecosystems crucial to the area have all occurred as a direct result of wetland destruction.

As the 1980’s came to a close, President Bush – “H” – vowed that there would be “no net loss of wetlands.” Presidents that would follow would keep this promise as a cornerstone of their campaigning. Even still, in the few short years between 1990 and 2005, nearly eighty-five thousand acres of wetlands were lost in the St. Johns area alone. That’s almost 6,000 acres a year. Florida’s flat terrain and sea level positioning puts the 11 million acres of wetlands well beyond the other 47 states that share the continental boundary. Let us not take the abundance for granted. We only have one Earth – and only so many acres of wetlands – to lose.


The perfect place to enjoy and learn about our Eco system is to join us on one of our popular Shrimping Eco Tours. You will learn all kinds of great things about our environment. (… continue)




Just Around The Corner – The 54 Annual Shrimp Festival

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg

Decorated Shrimp boats at the Shrimp Festival


To the Duke of Newcastle, James Oglethorpe once wrote, “This next island, the fairest of this province, I call Amelia.” Fairest of the surrounding islands is a most accurate observation. With only 52 square miles making up the entire island, 13 of those miles are pure, untouched beaches. Dunes for days, and stars for nights make for the most serene of getaways. Being the only territory in the continental United States under dominion of 8 different flags for over 500 years, there is no shortage of culture for the most soulful of travelers.

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Unicorn of the Sea – the Narwhal

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg




Widely – yet incorrectly – believed to be a character introduced in Greek mythology, The Unicorn, an equine-like creature, was first documented in early natural history. It came to be known as a symbol of purity. If you wanted any shot at catching the absurdly illusive creature, you yourself had to be a symbol of purity. Yep, only virgins could capture the woodland creature. The common imagery when thinking of a unicorn’s horn is a long, spiraled, pointed object. To create the appearance that unicorns were a reality.

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Protect Water from Pollution

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Intracoastal Amelia Island


Government funded agencies, nonprofit organizations, and – last but certainly not least – concerned individuals are our world’s best defensive line against the destruction of our planet. Unfortunately, there is only one way to destroy our planet. It’s by our own hands. As industry pushes forward, society has evolved to become obsessed with its own survival. In that act, mankind has neglected that which is responsible for its’ own survival. Before environmental awareness took on a more public presence, pollution was all but overlooked in modern America.

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Got Water?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Sunset on an Amelia River Cruise



New perspective makes themselves known in every all sorts of ways you never before imagined if you look deep within the confines of your everyday experiences. The greatest illusion of all is that of control. It is quite certain that there is none. As children, we have our toys… God be with whomever dares to go near the ones that are deemed untouchable. Yet inevitably, at some point when the guard is down, your favorite transformer finds its way to a spot where it has never belonged. The day is marked, and control has been lost for the first time.

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“And So It Begins” the Anton Laplume Band on the Amelia River Cruise

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017


The Anton Laplume Band


A buzz has been vibrating the surface of the music scene in the Southeast. The source, you ask? That would be none other than the emanating sounds of The Anton Laplume Band. With rhythmic bass lines echoing the phrasing of Bootsy, melodies so infectious they’ll take control of your dreams. Lyrics that embody the struggles of the mundane, and grooves that make the song you’re hearing become your only concept of time. Why wouldn’t you want to experience the vast flavors of this musical spread?!

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Boo Radley Music Duo Joins Amelia River Cuises

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

by: Davis Yancy Clegg


Boo Radley Music Duo


It is with great pleasure that we at Amelia River Cruises welcome the acoustic stylings of the Boo Radley Music Duo. Michael Shawn Turner and Patricia Matson have been working together as a duo, creating a sound that has yet to be comparable to any other local sound. With high quality vocal harmonizing backed up by the organic sounds of full-body acoustic, warm tones and well-rehearse harmonies set the Boo Radley apart from any other duo in the Northeast Florida music scene.

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