Sailing At Last

This is the tale of our journey to fulfill a passion of learning to sail and a dream to circumnavigate. Welcome Aboard At Last!

Profile of At Last and the Gorrell's

Who: Mark & Janet Gorrell
Port: Wickford, RI USA

Our Current Position

19 December 2013 | Westerly, RI
17 July 2013 | Mystic Shipyard, Mystic, CT
14 June 2013 | Summit North Marina, Bear, Delaware
04 June 2013 | Point Lookout Marina, Ridge, Maryland
21 May 2013 | Dunedin Municipal Marina, Dunedin, Florida
05 May 2013 | Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
27 April 2013 | 22 56.8'N:073 02.0'W, Nearing the Exumas & Bahamas
23 April 2013 | 18 25'N:064 50'W, The BVI
13 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
08 April 2013 | Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth, Bequia
04 April 2013 | Tobago Cays and Mustique, Grenadines
29 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
15 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
06 March 2013 | Between Salvador, Brazil and St. George, Grenada
05 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George's Harbor, Grenada
17 February 2013 | Terminal Nautico, Salvador, Brazil
04 February 2013 | 153 miles from Salvador Brazil, Atlantic Ocean
30 January 2013 | Island of St. Helena, Atlantic Ocean
29 January 2013 | 14 36.9'S:22 37.3'W, On the way to Brazil
20 January 2013 | 15 55.55'S:005 43.58'W, Jamestown, St. Helena

From the set of Pirates of the Caribbean II

19 December 2011 | Portsmouth, Dominica
Mark
We arrived in Dominica (dom en E kah), the last of the Leeward Islands, late in the day in very blustery conditions. As we were looking for a mooring ball, a member of PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security) greeted us from his skiff and told us he would direct us to a good mooring ball. His name (and his boat's name) is Alexis. Once you connect with one of the "boat boys" as they are called, they become your concierge for your stay. Alexis is a native of Dominica along with many generations of his family. To say that he is in love with his island would be an understatement. He spent most of the next day with us and his love of the island was infectious. Not only was he able to tell us what it was like growing up in a rain forest, he educated us about how protective his country is of the island which has preserved so much of its beauty.

In the morning, Alexis rowed us up the Indian River (he was not allowed to use his engine as the river is a national park). That is where we passed the location for one of the sets for the Pirates of the Caribbean II. The Indian River is where they shot the scene when the group goes to visit the gypsy, Calypso. We stopped at a little bar up the river and walked around the grounds. We had fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice which was delicious. Alexis took a machete and chopped up a coconut for us. Then he made me an origami bird using a palm leaf.



In the afternoon, we went with Alexis on a hike through the rain forest. We got him talking about what it was like growing up in the rain forest. He talked about the food that he and his friends ate from the rain forest and how his family used many of the trees and plants for medicine. He was very proud that Dominica was the residence of the oldest living woman on earth. She lived to be 128. He even took us by the house she lived in. There must be something to living in Dominica and youth because we thought Alexis was about thirty but he told us quite proudly that he was 45. Mark compares this rain forest to his experience visiting the Muir Woods Redwood forest in California.

Alexis and Janet on the Indian River. Wish we had better pictures of Alexis. Stay tuned for a You Tube video of Alexis talking about his life growing up in the rain forest.


On the way back from the rain forest, we stopped along several plantations where we were able to pick grapefruit and oranges off the trees. Alexis picked me a bouquet of beautiful wild orchids. He also picked a cocoa fruit (the seeds produce cocoa). He opened it for us and we sucked on the seeds which were surrounded by a sweet pulp. Quite tasty.

We would highly recommend that any boater visiting Dominica ask to work with Alexis. His knowledge of Dominica is incredible. He provided us with a wonderful tour of the island and even sold me some snake oil which he was certain would help with my back pain. See photos of the rain forest and the rest of our experience in the gallery.

Sadly, we leave Dominica tomorrow on a 70 mile sail to Martinique.

Les Saints, where Janet liked fish and ketchup is brown

18 December 2011 | Terre-De-Haut, Les Saintes
Mark
We left Dehaies Gaudeloupe Friday morning after a very rocky ride in the anchorage the night before. A front had blown through in the night and the wind and waves shifted sending everything mother nature had right into the calm bay. Several boats came into the bay in the middle of the night to seek shelter from the storm and a few turned around and left after experiencing the rocky conditions. Luckily, our anchor held but we lost a lot of sleep.

We arrived at our next stop, the islands just southeast of Guadeloupe called Les Saintes, late in the afternoon. This is a beautiful set of seven islands that are part of Guadeloupe. The main island, where we are staying, is Terre-De-Haut. It was not very long before we knew that Les Saints were going to be at the top of our favorites list. The place is gorgeous. Most people were riding bikes or scooters. We saw one car in the whole town. The streets of the main town are lined with restaurants, boutiques, bakeries and people just watching people, in French style, sitting at a street side café sipping a cup of espresso and smoking a cigarette.



Yes, they speak French here but some are a little more able to communicate with us than those in Deshaies, Gaudeloupe. I learned that speaking broken English using an Inspector Clouseau accent does not help with communications. Honestly, that is what you start to do. We want to thank all of you who commented on the Blog and sent emails in French. We are doing well on the translations but on the accent, not so good.

It took us 30 minutes to check out of the grocery store. First, we knew we needed some euros to make to process of buying groceries and anything else easier. But the bank was closed and all 3 ATMs on the island were out of service. So we had to use the master card. Do you know that French islands are unfamiliar with our American credit cards? Apparently, the European cards have embedded chips, not magnetic strips. They are inserted into card readers, not swiped like our cards. In the grocery store and almost everywhere else, we had to show the cashiers how to swipe the card. The cashier and the head cashier at the grocery store could not figure this out and had to call the boss at home to confirm the process. The other customers were very patiently waiting in line. Of course the language barrier had a huge impact. It all was pretty comical.

Those of you who know Janet, know she dislikes seafood. Well, at the restaurant we were having a hard time communicating with the waiter to order our meal. After a lot of effort, Janet gave up and said, "I'll have what he is having" pointing at me. The waiter understood and brought Janet what I ordered, grilled fish and French fries. The news is that she loved the fish. She may be open to changing her opinion about fish which is good because I appear to be quite the fisherman.

We both agree that Les Saintes are beautiful and a must see place. There are some more photos of Les Saintes in the gallery. Peter, you will be interested in seeing the wind surfers flying kites. We are leaving today for Dominica where we intend to boat up the Indian River and hike to some spectacular waterfalls and spring fed pools.

Parlez-vous Francais?

15 December 2011 | Deshaies (Day-Ay) Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is a French speaking country. And I mean French, and only French. This is the first time we have had a major problem communicating with anyone in the Caribbean. Sometimes communicating may have been difficult but one can manage to get the point across. Here, I had a very difficult time checking into customs. This is the first island where they had me use a computer to check in rather than fill out 3 pages of paper forms in triplicate. I thought this was going to be quick and easy. But did you know that French computer keyboards have the keys in different places compared to US keyboards? I spent thirty minutes correcting my typos. Do you know what the French call the United States? Etats-Unis. Try figuring that out from a drop down list of 200 countries. Checking into Customs still took an hour after all, and the nice customs official had to correct much of what I had entered into the computer. I could go on about it but let me just say that the experience taught us that we need to learn some French now, before we get to French Polynesia. By the way, the currency differences are starting to have an impact. So far we were able to use US dollars everywhere though we may have received change back in Eastern Caribbean Dollars. In Guadeloupe the currency is Euros and they don't wish to take any other currency.

We spent the afternoon at the Le Jardin Botanique, a botanical garden, which again was at the top of a mountain and we decided to walk there. We are getting our exercise. The walk was worth it as it was one of the better gardens I have visited with lots of exotic plants and great views. See the photos of Guadeloupe and the garden in the Guadeloupe photo gallery.



When we arrived back to our boat in the afternoon, a couple with their two young children came from their boat in their dinghy to introduce themselves. They are from Boston and are on a one year sabbatical from work to cruise the Caribbean. They kept their boat in the town next to ours in Rhode Island. Small world. We left of the Caribbean at the same time. We shared a lot in common about our adventures. I am sure we will see them again before we leave for Panama.

Friday, we leave for Les Saintes, a small group of quaint and picturesque French islands just south of Guadeloupe.

Wahoo!!

14 December 2011 | The Passage to Guadeloupe
Mark
The passage from Antigua to Guadeloupe was eventful. No nothing to do with the weather, the boat or sea sickness. We caught a 4ft 5in Wahoo. We had about 4 strikes along the 6 hour trip but none of the fish took the bait. With an hour left on the passage, we got a big strike and the fish ran with the line. After 30 minutes of excitement, maneuvering the boat to keep the fish astern and lots of questions like "What do we do now", we were able to bring the fish on board.

Mark has not been fishing for 30 years and has not caught a fish in 40 years. The only thing he caught the one time he went deep sea fishing was sea sickness. If only we had it all on video. We learned a lot about how to be prepared when fishing next time. Wish we had bought that book that we saw in the book store in Antigua, "Blue Water Fishing for Dummies"

As we left Antigua, we passed through English Harbour one last time. We learned that there was a mega yacht boat show at the Nelson's Dockyard. At Last met her bigger sister there. Take a look at the photo gallery of English Harbor in Antigua.

No, This Picture Did Not Come From a Post Card.

13 December 2011 | English Harbour, Antigua
Mark
Need we say more? The pictures are worth seeing in the Antigua photo gallery. Janet and I spent the first half of the day hiking (rather climbing) the trail to Shirley Heights, a site overlooking English and Falmouth Harbors. We asked the water taxi driver how long it took to hike the trail. He answered 20 minutes. He forgot to tell us that was how long it took to come back down. The views are fantastic. We have a photo that includes the path we took from our boat to the top of Shirley Heights. And yes, Janet worked up a sweat hiking the trail believe it or not.

We leave for Guadeloupe tomorrow, Wednesday morning. Another 50 mile day sail.
Vessel Name: At Last
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 465-02
Hailing Port: Wickford, RI USA
Crew: Mark & Janet Gorrell
About:
Hi, We have been sailing for more than twelve years, chartering in the BVI, Leeward Islands, Chesapeake, and Florida. We completed many US Sailing certifications. We have been saling At Last for the last four years in New England between Nantucket and NYC. Mark has crewed on deliveries to St. [...]
Extra:
For those of you who know Mark, you would agree that he is a very conservative and risk adverse person and one who suffers terribly from motion sickness. So, you must be wondering how he could give up the security of a wonderful job to sail around the world, especially in this economy. Well, [...]
Home Page: http://sailingatlast.com
At Last's Photos - Main
Back in the US and heading home
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 3 June 2013
Our time in Marigot Bay, Rodney Bay and other photo albums commemorating our trip
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 19 April 2013
Stops in Grenada and the Grenadines
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 28 March 2013
Carnival and Old Town in Salvador
25 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 17 February 2013
Photos of this unique and friendly island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean
18 Photos
Created 16 February 2013
The pictures from our stops in Richard's Bay, Durban, St. Francis and Cape Town.
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 14 December 2012
Halloween party and a visit to a volcano
21 Photos
Created 23 November 2012
Our time in Mauritius
46 Photos
Created 23 November 2012
Our visit to the atoll of Cocos Keeling, Australia
23 Photos
Created 21 October 2012
35 Photos
Created 18 September 2012
Our time in Mackay, Cairns and Darwin Australia
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 September 2012
Our time in Port Resolution, Dillon's Bay and Port Vila
43 Photos
Created 17 July 2012
Our time in Denarau and Musket Cove, Fiji
20 Photos
Created 6 July 2012
Our visit to Vava'u Tonga
56 Photos
Created 21 June 2012
The Islands of Suwarrow and American Samoa
27 Photos
Created 8 June 2012
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 29 April 2012
Rangiroa
26 Photos
Created 29 April 2012
This gallery include the passage from the Galapagos and photos from Hiva-Oa, Oa-Pou and Nuku Hiva
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 11 April 2012
These are pictures of the passage to the Galapagos and our experience on the islands of San Cristobal, Isabella and Santa Cruz
2 Photos | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 2 March 2012
Here are photos of the passage to Panama, the San Blas Islands, the transit through the canal and events yet to come.
11 Photos | 6 Sub-Albums
Created 22 January 2012
A compendium of pix of our various excursions around St Lucia
5 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 6 January 2012
These are pictures from the last of the Leeward Islands.
25 Photos
Created 19 December 2011
Photos of Terre-De-Haut, an island part of Les Saintes southeast of Guadeloupe.
13 Photos
Created 18 December 2011
Here are more photos of English Harbour taken form At Last as we left Antigua for Guadeloupe
10 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
These are the pictures of our passage from Antigua through our stay on Guadeloupe
28 Photos
Created 16 December 2011
These are photos of Admiral Nelson's Dockyard and our trek to the top of Shirley Heights overlooking English Harbor
42 Photos
Created 13 December 2011
Here are some photos of the islands as we were leaving Nevis, passing Montserrat and arriving at Antigua. A pleasant 50 mile motor sail into 10 knot head winds. I took a nap for 90 minutes. Blogging keeps me up late at night.
15 Photos
Created 13 December 2011
Pictures of Nevis
14 Photos
Created 11 December 2011
These are pix of Saba, Statia and St Kitts as we passed by them to sail to Nevis
18 Photos
Created 11 December 2011
Pictures of his homes and yacht on the island as we passed headed for Anguilla
11 Photos
Created 5 December 2011
7 Photos
Created 2 December 2011
Some of the photos of the passage that hit the cutting room floor
27 Photos
Created 22 November 2011
These are pictures of some of the results of the recent outfitting for the trip
8 Photos
Created 19 October 2011
These were taken last year sailing in Long Island Sound by Yacht-Shots. My colleagues at Baystate Health were kind enough to have three copies of one these photos printed and framed for me as a going away gift. A large one for home, one for the boat and one for my desk. Very Special!
7 Photos
Created 19 October 2011
This is a compilation of photos taken over the first four years of cruising on At Last in Naragansett Bay and Long Island Sound with close friends, family and the Cruising Club of New England, a wonderful group of sailors.
55 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
At Last is painted in January of 2008
4 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
At last is delivered, commissioned and has its maiden voyage just in time to be in the 2007 Newport Boat Show
6 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
These are pictures of the layout of the IP 465 and the interior of At Last
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2011

Profile of At Last and the Gorrell's

Who: Mark & Janet Gorrell
Port: Wickford, RI USA

Our Current Position