HONOLULU: Everything that could seemingly go wrong did for two women who tried to sail from Honolulu to Tahiti.
Their planned 18-day voyage last May turned into a six-month ordeal that left their boat with no power and a damaged masthead. As they drifted hundreds of miles off course, they had to deal with violent storms and two attacks by sharks.
With hope fading and food running low, a passing Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted them Tuesday and arranged for their rescue.
Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava said in a video interview provided by the Navy that the most amazing feeling they’ve ever had was seeing the USS Ashland coming over the horizon to their rescue.
While happy to be rescued, Fuiava says there’s utter sadness at leaving behind their boat, the Sea Nymph. She says the boat saved their lives multiple times on the trip.
A planned voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti aboard a small sailboat didn’t start off well for two Honolulu women. One of their cellphones washed overboard and sank into the deep blue water on their first day at sea.
From there, things got worse. Much worse. About a month into their trip, bad weather caused their engine to lose power. Their mast was damaged. And then, as they drifted across thousands of miles of open ocean, their water purifier stopped working.
But the two sailors, accompanied by their dogs, were resourceful and prepared with more than a year’s worth of food, and after more than five months of being lost in the vast Pacific Ocean, sending out daily distress calls that no one heard, they were rescued by the US Navy on Wednesday about 900 miles southeast of Japan.