Published: 29th October 2017
Sharks and lost hope: Two women and their pooches rescued after five months adrift in the Pacific Ocean
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava accompanied by their two dogs had left for their trip in May and reportedly sent distress calls each day for 98 days but to no avail
A planned voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti aboard a 50-foot sailboat didn't start off well for two Honolulu women who were rescued in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, five months after their trip commenced, by the US Navy 900 km off the coast of Japan. The women accompanied by their two dogs had left for their trip in May and reportedly sent distress calls each day for 98 days but to no avail.
One of their cellphones was washed overboard and sank to the bottom on their first day at sea. From there, things got worse. Much worse. About a month into their trip, flooding from a storm crippled their engine. The 57-foot mast was damaged. And then, as they drifted thousands of miles in what turned out to be a five-month ordeal out in the middle of Pacific, the water purifier conked out and sharks started bumping the boat menacingly.
The two sailors, accompanied by their dogs, however, were resourceful and well-prepared with more than a year's worth of food, and on Wednesday they were finally rescued by the US Navy.
Canine Company: Appel has credited the dogs, Valentine and Zeus, for keeping their spirits up |AFP
"Thank God we've been rescued," Jennifer Appel, 48, told reporters in a teleconference arranged aboard a Navy ship. "I had tears in my eyes. It was incredibly emotional."
The USS Ashland picked up Appel and Tasha Fuiava after a Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted their crippled vessel Tuesday and alerted the Coast Guard. In photos and video provided by the Navy, one of the women blew kisses as a rescue boat approached. Both women, and their dogs, Valentine and Zeus, looked fit and vigorous.
Asked if they ever thought they might not survive, Appel said they would not be human if they did not. "There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night," Appel said.
Sail Storm: The two women, however, were well prepared with a year's worth of stock and supplies |Yahoo.com
The women two lost their engine in bad weather in late May but believed they could still reach Tahiti by sail. But the damage to their mast made it difficult to make any progress. Twice, sharks menaced them.
"They were horrific," Appel said. A group of five tiger sharks 20 to 30 feet long decided to use the sailboat to teach two younger sharks how to hunt, attacking the vessel at night. The next morning, one 20-footer that Appel called "a really poor loser" returned and attacked the side of the boat.