Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba ran into a problem during a 2,700-mile trip from Hawaii to Tahiti. After their rescue, they credited the two dogs onboard with them, with maintaining their morale, and said they were able to survive because they packed a water purifier and enough food to last for a year's before leaving.
"There is a real humility to wondering if today is your last day. if tonight is your last night," Appel told media from the USS Ashland, which rescues them.
The women, who are both from Honolulu, lost their engine in bad weather in late May, but believe they can still reach Tahiti using their sails. But they were drifted into the ocean when their mast broke. Appel's mother said after speaking to her on the phone.
Two months into their trip, after arriving in Tahiti, the sailors began making distress calls. But there were no boats nearby and they were too far from the sea for the signals to be detected on land.
Appel said they sent a distress signal 98 days later, but got no response. "It was very frustrating and very discouraging, but it's the only thing you can do, so you do what you can do."
A group of sharks attacked their boat one night and a single shark returned after a day, he said. "Both of them, we really thought it was lights out, and it was horrible. We were incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the attack."
When asked if they thought they might not survive, she said they would not be human if they did not. She attributed the credit to two dogs, which she called their companion’s animals, with keeping the spirit up.
The US Navy rescued the women on Wednesday after a Taiwanese fishing boat spotted them about 900 miles southeast of Japan, well off their planning course, and alerted the US Coast Guard.
The US Ashland arrived early the next day, the navy said in a statement issued on Thursday.
A sailor greets Zeus the dog with his friend Tasha Fuiaba, on the boat deck of the deck of the USS Ashland. Photograph: Mass communication specialist 3r/AP.
"They save our lives." Appeal said through the naval release "The pride and the smile we had when we saw [the US Navy] on the horizon were a pure relief."
They informed the Navy that they survived because they had packed a water purifier and abundant food supply, mostly dried food such as oatmeal and pasta.
The photo the Navy shows Fuiaba smiling as a sailor greets her dog, Zeus, aboard the USS Ashland.
“The US navy is postured to help any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation, Cmdr Steven Wasson, “the commanding officer of the USS Ashland.
Abel's mother told the Associated Press that she had never lost hope of finding her daughter.
Joyce Appel, 75, who lives in Houston, said she received a call from her daughter Thursday morning after more than 5 months after the last time they spoke.
She said, "Mom?" I said, "Jennifer!" Because I had not heard in about five months, "he said. She said "Yes, Mom", and that was really exciting.
Jennifer Appel departed on 3rd May, her mother said, but her phone was lost overboard the first day she was at sea, and she had not heard from her daughter since.
"Different things on her boat broke, and the engine did not start when she was in need of power. So, she faced many of the problems that caused her to eventually drift into the ocean," said elder Appel.
Joyce called the US Coast Guard, approximately a week and a half after her daughter left Honolulu. "The Coast Guard in Hawaii did a search and rescue efforts," she said.
"I waited and waited and waited to see when I will hear from her." In that moment, the senior Appeal moved and got a new phone number and worried that her daughter did not know where to contact. "I knew she did not even know the phone number here," she said.
"I hope all along, she is very curious and she is resourceful and as things break she try to fix them. She does not sit and waits for the technician to get there, so I knew the same thing will be true on the boat.
The mother said the pair’s water purifier had stopped working and they were down to their last gallon of water when Jennifer got it fixed.