Women rescued after five months adrift at sea

Taylor Byrd
October 31, 2017

Two American sailors and their dogs have been rescued after drifting off course and spending months sending out distress calls in the Pacific Ocean, the US Navy said Thursday.

On May 3, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava set sail to Tahiti from their home in Hawaii, beginning a 2,700-mile-long journey that would take about a month.

"There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night", said Appel from the USS Ashland, the United States navy vessel that rescued them once the Taiwanese fishing boat passed on the distress signal.

They ended up being discovered 900 miles southeast of Japan by a Taiwanese fishing boat, and eventually picked up by the U.S. Navy.

The planned voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti aboard a small yacht did not start well for the two women, from Honolulu - one of their mobile phones washed overboard and sank on their first day at sea.

"I'm telling you I've never seen any Stanley Cup victor come even close to the precision these five sharks had", Appel continued.

Appel's mother told reporters that the pair were down to their last gallon of water when they were rescued.

"I could see light and I could see vessels, and once you get closer, we thought it would be close enough to do a [distress] call", Fuiava said.

"They said pack every square inch of your boat with food, and if you think you need a month, pack six months, because you have no idea what could possibly happen out there", Appel said.

Miraculously, Fuiava and Appel were kept alive on a year's stock of dry goods, including oatmeal, rice and pasta. "There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night".

"When she got on the telephone, she was very enthusiastic and she just sounded great", Appel said. Steven Wasson, Ashland commanding officer, said in the release.

They said they have no fear of getting back in the water for some more sailing.

"I had hope all along, she is very resourceful and she's curious and as things break she tries to fix them, she doesn't sit and wait for the repairman to get there, so I knew the same thing would be true of the boat". "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief".

"I had tears in my eyes", Ms Appel said about being rescued.

"I'm grateful for their service to our country", Appel said in a Navy statement.

The pair and their dogs will remain on board the USS Ashland until it reaches its next port.

"Well, you gotta die sometime", Appel told ABC News."You may as well be doing something you enjoy when you're doing it".

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