Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba set out on a boat trip from Hawaii to Tahiti on May 30. The next time anyone saw them was yesterday. After five months in the Pacific Ocean, the pair were incredibly happy to see the USS Ashland;
“I’m grateful for their service to our country,” stated Appel, “They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief.”
The women and their dogs ran into bad weather in May and then engine trouble. They believed they could get to their destination under just sail. Two months later, they realized they were way off course but their distress calls proved fruitless. Their boat was now too far away from any other boats or shore. They continued to try calling for help every day but apparently, were never heard.
Thanks to incredible planning, the duo survived. On board, they had water purifiers and a one-year supply of dry food.
Their vessel was spotted by a Taiwanese fishing boat approximately 900 miles southwest of Japan. Those fishermen contacted the Coast Guard. This resulted in the Navy’s 7th Fleet sending out the USS Ashland to rescue them.
The women were given medical assessments, food, and bunks once they were aboard the Ashland. They will remain on board until the vessel docks at its next port of call.
The USS Ashland has been in the area as long as Appel and Fuiaba were at sea, five months. They are part of a ready-response asset for any contingency. This apparently includes boaters lost at sea.