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

Malo e lelei from the Kingdom of Tonga

21 June 2012 | City of Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga
A view of the city of Neiafu from the top of Mt Talau

After several weeks of difficulties, we are happy to report that Tonga has brought us safe anchorages and sunny skies. As Wendell Ritchie, a colleague of Mark's from Baystate Health, wrote to us, "Even though you've had some bad weather and exciting (stressful) experiences, as you already realize, the memories and friendships you are making along the way will be so wonderful in the future. The rainy days (or weeks) and anchor slippages will melt away into the glistening ocean views, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and times enjoyed with your fellow travelers." Tonga has done just that for us!

Tonga is the oldest and last remaining Polynesian monarchy and the only Pacific nation never to be brought under foreign rule. The total land area of the Kingdom is only 691 square km although the 170 islands are spread over 700,000 square kilometers. The population of Tonga is approximately 100,000 people with half living from subsistence agriculture, fishing and collecting. Both men and women in Tonga wear a traditional woven mat around their waist called a ta'ovala. The men secure theirs with a coconut fiber cord while the women wear a kiekie waistband. The dress is conservative in Tonga with women covering their shoulders and wearing skits that cover their knees. Religion is a very important part of life in Tonga. We went to a Catholic church service while we were here. Much of the service was sung and all of it was in Tongan. Everyone was dressed very well to attend church. The people here are some of the kindest we have yet encountered on our journey. It is an exceptionally relaxed and happy lifestyle.

We spent all of our time in Tonga in the island group of Vava'u. It is one of four major areas in Tonga. Vava'u is known as the most scenic region and we were not disappointed. In Vava'u alone there are about forty pristine anchorages with beautiful white sand beaches. We spent much of our time in the city of Neiafu and then went on to several of the recommended anchorages.

Two of the most interesting things that we did while here was visit two caves with entrances on or under the water. The first cave was Swallow's Cave on Kapa Island where we took the dinghy into the cave. The caves had many bats on the ceiling and a magnificent rock formation. We took this picture of At Last from the entrance to the cave. The second cave we visited was Mariner's Cave on Nuapapu Island. We had to swim through an underwater tunnel to get to the cave. You swam down about six feet then across about 12 feet to the opening of the cave. Many thanks to Dave (s/v Southern Cross) who was the first one into the cave and led the way for the rest of us. It was incredibly worth the effort and anxiety once you were inside the cave. Shadow (s/v Zoe) took some amazing pictures with her underwater camera and a video of us swimming out of the cave. She is getting them to us and we will post them in the near future.

Another highlight of our trip was the anchorage off Tapana Island. There was a floating art gallery there called "Ark Gallery." In addition there was an excellent authentic Spanish restaurant called Le Paella. There were 16 of us from the fleet who went one night for dinner. We had a delicious meal of croquettes, Spanish tortilla, gazpacho soup, and a huge dish of paella. There was also a very friendly dog and a goat who was happy to give a little head butt to anyone who was willing to do the same to him. They even had a helmet available. After dinner, the chefs surprised us by donning instruments and singing some beautiful Spanish music. We liked the paella so much we ordered some from the restaurant and picked it up the next morning. It is now in the freezer ready for the passage to Fiji.

I cannot believe how much we did here. We had a fantastic hike to the highest point in Vava'u. We had a rousing game of Liar's dice one night on At Last with Steve (s/v Southern Cross), the entire Zoe clan, Mark and me. We had two trips on At Last with a whole crew of people from three other boats to visit the caves. We did some amazing snorkeling at a place called the Coral Gardens, which is a perfect name for such an amazing place. We went to a dance performance which was a fundraiser for a local dance group.

But probably the biggest news for the trip to Tonga is a status on our hair. Odd thing I know but here is the thing. Mark's hair is now in a ponytail. Not a big one, mind you, but a ponytail none the less. Several people in the fleet have commented on how it suits him. My, how things have changed. I also got my hair cut for the first time in eight months. We found a delightful woman named Fatima who has a hair studio in Tonga by the same name. She is married to the nephew of the couple who own the Le Paella Restaurant. She sat me in a chair and told me my hair was a mess - a truer statement could not be made. I told her I was open to whatever she wanted to do as long as I could put it in a ponytail. She made me a redhead again and I love it. I was growing tired of the plethora of grey hair on the top of my head and the bleached out blond hair on the bottom. Five of us from the fleet got our hair done that day by Fatima and we ended up there for most of the day. It was so much fun to be pampered for the first time since the spa in St. Lucia.

We are quite sad about leaving Tonga. It is a beautiful place and we have had an amazing time. We would love to figure out a way to return. We are leaving tomorrow for a three day passage to Fiji. We will be reunited with the rest of the World ARC fleet there. We will be there until July 7th when we leave for Vanuatu.

By the way, we crossed the International Date Line on the passage to Tonga. We actually skipped the day June 11, 2012. It is lost to us forever. It is now June 22, 2012 for us and June 21, 2012 for you. We will catch up to you again as we do time zone changes from here back to the Caribbean.
Vessel Name: At Last
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 465-02
Hailing Port: Wickford, RI USA
Crew: Mark & Janet Gorrell
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. [...]
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:
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
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