After being lost at sea for five months, two women and their dogs have been rescued.
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava set out with their dogs, Zeus and Valentine, on a 2,700-mile sailing journey from Hawaii to Tahiti when the weather got bad and they lost their engine in May. The duo and their constant companions were rescued 900 miles southeast of Japan by the U.S. Navy on Wednesday, October 25.
During their time on the waters, the pair and their “boys,” as they call them, survived two separate shark attacks on their boat saying, “Both of them — we actually thought it was lights out. They were horrific. We were just incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught.”
After losing one of their mobile phones on their first day out, bad weather caused their engine to lose power and damage their mast about a month into their trip. As their boat drifted across miles of open ocean, the four survived thanks to a water purifier and the fact that they’d packed enough food to last for a year.
The women credit their canines with helping them survive by keeping them in good spirits throughout the nightmare voyage. Two months into the trip, they made distress calls every day but there were no boats close by to hear them. The women and their dogs were finally rescued after a Taiwanese fishing shop spotted them and alerted the U.S. Coast Guard.
“There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night,” Appel told media from the USS Ashland.
In a video from their rescue released by the Navy, Appel blows kisses as the dogs yap excitedly and circle around soldiers.
“I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the US Navy] on the horizon was pure relief,” Appel said according to a release from the US Navy.