For five long months, two American women and their dogs floated lost at sea. With dwindling hope, they survived shark attacks and storms on a broken sailboat.
In May 2017, Jennifer Appel, Tasha Fuiava and their two trusty sidekicks embarked on a 2,700-mile trip. They were sailing the “Sea Nymph”, a 50-foot sailboat from Oahu, Hawaii to Tahiti.
The women left the American coastline prepared for bad weather and good times. They had brought plenty of food and a water humidifier and, of course, Appel’s two dogs, Valentine and Zeus.
Within the first month of sailing, the Sea Nymph’s mast failed. Then, to make matters go from bad to worse, a storm hit and flooded the engine, damaging their communication.
They floated for 98 days. They were making distress calls and shooting flairs but no one stopped. Ships passed them in the night, barely out of range. Thankfully, the women had the two pups to keep them comforted.
One night a group of seven sharks circled the boat, slapping their tails over and over again on the hull.
“I went downstairs with the boys and we basically laid huddled on the floor and I told them not to bark, because the sharks could hear us breathing. They could smell us,” Appel told NBC News.
Hope came in the form of a Taiwanese fishing boat, 900 miles southeast of Japan. They radioed American sailors to come to the rescue, and the USS AShland (part of the US Navy) picked up the group. When the vessel came, the dogs ran circles around the sailboat, barking excitedly.
The women said they managed to stay alive thanks to their water purifier, a year’s supply of dry food and the comfort their dogs provided.
Surprisingly, the group doesn’t plan to stay on dry land for long. “Well you’ve got to die sometime,” Appel said. “You might as well be doing something you enjoy when you’re doing it, right?”
I guess with that logic we should drown ourselves in a mountain of puppies. But, to each their own!