U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released
Cailey Rizzo
October 30, 2017

Being lost at sea has not deterred two sailors from planning to complete their travel plans.

Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava — alongside their two dogs — set foot on ground at a U.S. naval base in southern Japan on Monday after spending five months lost in the Pacific Ocean.

The pair had been at sea since they left Hawaii on May 3 on Appel’s sailboat, the Sea Nymph. They were bound for Tahiti, but never made it to their destination.

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On May 30, the ship ran into bad weather. The storm flooded the engine and destroyed their mast and sails. Their satellite phone had gone overboard.

The pair attempted to turn back, believing they could finish the course by sail, according to a statement from the U.S. Navy. But they veered off course and drifted aimlessly for 98 days, making unanswered distressed calls.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released

Finally, last week, they crossed paths with a Taiwanese fishing vessel about 900 miles off the coast of Japan. The fishermen tried to tow the Sea Nymph to safety but were unsuccessful.

However, Appel and Fuiava were able to make a mayday call to the US Coast Guard. On October 25, the USS Ashland appeared on the horizon and rescued the two sailors and their dogs, Valentine and Zeus.

The pair survived because they had packed a year’s supply of dry foods, including oatmeal, pasta and rice. They also had a water purifier onboard.

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However, the experience hasn’t made the women swear off sailing. They’re hoping to recover and repair their sailboat. If not, they will build a new “unsinkable and unbreakable” boat and re-attempt the voyage to Tahiti.

“We still never got to see the 20,000 islands, so I think that would be the most fantastic trip for May of next spring,” Appel told Associated Press.

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