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Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

Live from Central Park in New York City, the seven Jury votes were revealed, and Vecepia Towery, the 36-year-old office manager from Portland, Oregon, became the Sole Survivor and winner of SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS.

During an emotional final Tribal Council back on the island, the voting power shifted from the final two Survivors-Vecepia and Neleh Dennis, the 21-year-old student from Layton, Utah-to the seven-member Jury. Not hesitating to make strongly opinionated statements and to ask sharp questions, the Jury made their decision in a 4-3 vote.

Second Thoughts
Returning from the tension-filled Tribal Council on Day 35, in which Sean Rector was voted out of the tribe, the remaining tribe members sat around the fire discussing the outcome. Kathy, the deciding vote, labored over her decision to vote Sean off the island: "I am not okay with that vote -- too much pressure. I don't know if I did the right thing, or made the right decision for myself. I hated it."

Looking back on the night's heated events, Neleh revealed, "I've never had confrontations like this in my normal life. I don't ever deal with this." ( Neleh on voting Sean out )

Show Me the Way to Go Home
With only two days remaining, the harsh living conditions were taking their toll on Paschal English as he stumbled through his daily tasks. "I feel good mentally, but physically I look worse than I ever did in my life right now." Paschal wasn't the only Survivor battling the uncomfortable living situation as Neleh and Kathy sat together, discussing the hardships they had endured. "You start going bonkers, I start going out of my head after awhile." Kathy stated. After singing, "Show Me the Way to go Home" and letting their frustrations go, Kathy and Neleh screamed, hoping to alleviate their physical and mental fatigue. After hearing their screams off in the distance, Vecepia stated, " I have had enough of these people. I love them, but I have had enough of them."

Immunity Challenge: Fallen Comrades
After receiving Tree Mail, the tribe met host Jeff Probst at Tribal Council where the next Immunity Challenge would take place, to be immediately followed by a Tribal Council vote. Jeff explained the rules, stating, "Tonight's Immunity Challenge will test just how well you have gotten to know your fellow Survivors." Using a pad and paper to reveal their answers, the remaining Survivors were to be asked a series of questions pertaining to those Survivors who had been voted out or events that had previously occurred. If a question were answered correctly, they would receive one point. The Survivor to accumulate ten points first would win Immunity from the imminent vote.

As the challenge began, Neleh took an early lead, receiving two points. The question and answering continued as the pressure grew. The final round of questioning came down to Neleh and Vecepia, who both had nine points. After revealing their answers, it was Vecepia who answered correctly, reaching 10 points, and winning the ever-important Immunity Necklace.

Tribal Council: Paschal English Out of the Tribe
Immediately following the Immunity Challenge, a Tribal Council vote took place. Just before the vote, a vulnerable Kathy brokered a deal with Vecepia in which she asked Vecepia to keep her Immunity but to agree not to vote for her in order to force a tie, allowing her the chance to make it to the Final Three. "I can handle that," Vecepia agreed.

After the vote, Jeff revealed that a tie had indeed occurred -- two votes against Neleh and two votes against Kathy. He then explained that the Final Four would have two minutes to reach a majority consensus whether Neleh or Kathy should be voted out of the tribe and that, if they failed to, all of them except Vecepia, who had Immunity, would have to pick colored rocks out of a sack. The person to pick the only purple rock out of the bag would have to leave the tribe.

After the two-minute deliberation process, no consensus was reached. Even though he knew that he would now be at risk, Paschal conceded with the others that the only resolution would be to pick the rocks out of the bag. After picking the rocks, Neleh, Kathy and Paschal revealed their colors and it was Paschal English who had picked the unlucky purple stone, sending him packing. Paschal's torch was extinguished as he became the 13th member of SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS to leave the island. Paschal became the sixth member of the Jury that would ultimately decide who would be the Sole Survivor. Paschal gave his Final Words, "It's been an amazing experience, I have made some life-long friends, and the competitors remaining -- I wish them all luck."

The Survivor Wake-Up Call
On the morning of Day 38, host Jeff Probst arrived at 3:00 am to wake up the sleeping tribe and tell them of their day's adventure. Kathy, Vecepia and Neleh, the three remaining tribe members, would have to construct an outrigger canoe that they would paddle to take them to the other side of the island, where they would paint personal and symbolic tattoos on their skin that best represented their time on the island.

A Rite of Passage
After assembling their canoe in the early morning hours, the Survivors paddled to the other side of the island, where the women painted their legs and arms with black tattoo paint. Adorned with complex symbols and personal images, they set out on foot to the next leg of the journey in which they passed the torches of the fellow tribe members who had been voted out before them. As they passed each torch, the Survivors reflected on their time spent with each, offering their praise and remembrance.

After passing Paschal's torch, the Survivors headed off to an area of purification. Following an ancient Marquesan ritual, the Survivors bathed themselves in a blend of oils and spices to cleanse their spirit. During the ritual, Kathy took a moment to reflect upon the final three competitors, "It's just amazing that a meek 21-year-old, a very deep-thinking religious individual and then a business person like myself are here in the Final Three. I find it just amazing."

After finishing the purification stage of the journey, the three realized that they would have to change back into game mode, as the final Immunity Challenge was just around the corner. "We knew that the next step would be the last for somebody and the enjoyment of the day was over with," said Vecepia.

Immunity Challenge: Hand on a Hard Idol
Understanding that Kathy and Vecepia had made a pact at the previous night's Tribal Council, Neleh recognized the importance of winning the upcoming Immunity Challenge. "I want that million dollars more than anything out here, and I am not going down without giving it my best shot," Neleh claimed.

After greeting the three castaways, host Jeff Probst explained the rules of the final Immunity Challenge. The challenge was simple -- a test of endurance. The Survivors had to stand on two logs, then lean forward and simultaneously hold on to an Immunity Idol with one hand, never having their feet or hand leave the points of contact. If at any time their hand or feet left the points of contact, they would be out of the game. The last person standing would win.

The Survivors took their positions and the game began. Hours passed as the sun set, and no one had given in or made a mistake. More than four hours into the competition, Kathy fell from her position and was out of the challenge. Soon after, Vecepia attempted to strike a deal with Neleh, asking, "If I step off and give you Immunity, would you take me into the finals with you?" "I'm fine with that," Neleh answered. As the two agreed on their pact, Vecepia jumped down from her post giving Neleh victory and, most importantly, Immunity. ( More action at the Immunity Challenge )

Tribal Council: Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien Voted Out

At Tribal Council, the three remaining Survivors were informed that one member of the Jury, Paschal English, was not present because he had collapsed shortly before Tribal Council due to dehydration. Evacuated to a hospital for treatment, Paschal was deemed to be in stable condition by medical staff. One of the Jury members, John Carroll, who is a registered nurse, soothed nerves by informing Neleh, Kathy, and Vecepia about what had happened, promising that Paschal would be fine. Neleh expressed her relief. After ensuring that the three were ready to continue, Jeff explained that the vote would be up to Neleh alone; because Kathy's vote would have to be for Vecepia, and Vecepia's for Neleh, the two cancelled each other out. Only Immunity winner Neleh could vote.

On Night 38, Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, the 47-year-old real estate agent from Burlington, Vermont, was voted out of the Soliantu Tribe, propelling Neleh and Vecepia into the finals. Kathy became the 14th member of SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS to be voted off of the island and became the last member of the Jury. After exiting Tribal Council, Kathy looked back on her time spent on the island: "It's the relationships that I am taking away from this experience, and I loved it." ( Kathy's Final Words )

The Final Day
Last night at SoliantuOn Day 39, Vecepia and Neleh awoke from their final night's rest on the island wondering what the day would bring. As the two prepared breakfast, a pig and two chickens wandered into their camp. Later, Vecepia and Neleh spent the afternoon in the sea, bathing. "This place is beautiful, but being out here for 39 days I'm definitely ready to leave it all behind," Neleh remarked. Back on the beach with nothing but time on their hands, Neleh ceremoniously started a bonfire, burning clothes left behind by the others.

"And Christ said while he was hanging on the cross, it is finished, it is almost done," Vecepia added.

Looking Back
With the voting power now shifted to the seven-member Jury, Vecepia looked back and pondered how the Jury would perceive the way she had conducted herself during her time with them on the island, "I hope that the Jury will look at the way I played this game as very strategic, very decisive, and some parts deceiving. If you look at the deceptive parts, they have put me in line to where I am right now."

Neleh, too, pondered the upcoming vote: "All I can do is say what I feel. I think that I have made great relationships with everybody. I hope they will look at me and know that I have been upfront and honest."

As Neleh and Vecepia sat together one last time looking out into the sea before heading to Tribal Council, a teary-eyed Vecepia turned to Neleh: "We both are the Ultimate Survivors!"

At Tribal Council, the two remaining Survivors were pleased to find a healthy Paschal back in the Jury. The two then prepared to be asked a series of questions by the newly-empowered Jury, which would test and prod them. The first Jury member to address Neleh and Vecepia was Tammy, who offered a biting critique of the way they had played the game, questioning their tactics and accusing them of "a holier-than-thou attitude." Tammy went on to suggest that neither one of them deserved to win and that it was Kathy, who had already been voted out, who deserved to win.

Paschal offered warm words, claiming he would be happy with either one of the two as his daughters, and stating that both of them deserved to win. As the Jury went to vote, some clearly were still struggling over their decision.

Jeff Probst then grabbed the jar containing the votes and informed the Survivors that they would be revealed back in the United States. He then made an exit courtesy of an arriving helicopter.

The seas of the Pacific became the seas of the Atlantic, as the helicopter approached the skyline of New York City. Triumphantly making its way past the Statue of Liberty, the helicopter proceeded to a landing spot, where Jeff Probst, carrying the Marquesan jar, hailed a cab and drove off for Central Park. Exiting the cab, Jeff brought the jar and its fateful contents to Vecepia and Neleh, flanked by the Jury members -- not to mention a crowd of cheering fans. The anticipated moment at hand, Jeff began reading the votes.

In the end, there could be only one winner of SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS and Vecepia Towery won in a 4-3 vote.