Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, two women from Honolulu, have been lost at sea for five months after setting out on a 2,700 mile trip to Tahiti. On Wednesday, they were rescued by the US Navy.
The Guardian reports that both women and their dogs are now on board the USS Ashland, and will be dropped off at the next port of call so they can return to their families. They credited their survival to having a water purifier and a year’s supply of food, especially dried goods like pasta. But their spirits were maintained by their dogs, and frankly this story is making me extremely emotional. This whole ordeal sounds just as terrifying as you would imagine, especially this part:
A group of sharks attacked their boat one night, and a single shark returned a day later, she said. “Both of them, we actually thought it was lights out, and they were horrific. We were just incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught.”
The women’s engine gave out in May during a storm, but they still thought they could make it to Tahiti with their sails; then the mast broke. For 98 days they sent out a distress signal, but heard nothing back. Finally, on Tuesday, a Taiwanese fishing vessel saw them 900 miles off the coast of Japan and alerted the coast guard. Appel told the Guardian from the USS Ashland that it was extremely “depressing” to send a signal everyday to no response, but it was all they could do.
“There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night,” she said.
Holy shit. Welcome home Jennifer and Tasha.