Two American Women Rescued After 147 Days at Sea

Two American Women Rescued After 147 Days at Sea

A planned voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti aboard a 15 metre sailboat did not start well for two Honolulu women, who have been rescued after five months lost in the Pacific Ocean.

Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, both from Honolulu in Hawaii, had left their home state in spring to sail to Tahiti, with dogs Zeus and Valentine also on board.

"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 U.S. navy vessel that rescued them once the Taiwanese fishing boat passed on the distress signal.

After almost five months lost at sea, a Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted their boat and contacted the Coast Guard.

Two months into their trip, well after they were scheduled to arrive in Tahiti, the women began making distress calls, but there were no vessels close and they were too far out to sea for the signals to be detected on land. Appel said another shark came the next night, slamming itself against the hull of the ship. But there were no ships close enough to hear their transmissions.

"They saved our lives", said Ms Appel through the Navy release.

The pair, along with their dogs - or the "boys", as they call them - survived two separate shark attacks, they said.

Thanks to the advice of a local fisherman, they'd packed a year's worth of food and water purifiers in case of an emergency, but there was nothing they could have done to prepare for the sharks.

"There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night", she said.

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"It was very depressing and very hopeless, but it's the only thing you can do, so you do what you can do", the newspaper quoted her as saying.

The 50-foot "Sea Nymph", now crippled, drifted thousands of miles off course.

The USS Ashland, a ship based in Sasebo, Japan, was near the area on routine deployment and reached the damaged sailboat Wednesday morning. Steven Wasson, Ashland commanding officer.

The women were given medical assessments and will remain aboard the USS Ashland until its next port of call, the Navy said. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw (U.S. Navy) on the horizon was pure relief".

"I'm grateful for their service to our country ..."

Meanwhile, Appel said the ordeal hasn't sworn her off planning a future ocean journey.

They chose to continue on their journey, using the ship's sail as part of their bid to reach land.

"There's different sunrises and sunsets every day ... and you're around for a reason, but you may as well use the time to do something beneficial".

"You may as well be doing something you enjoy when you're doing it, right?"

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