Two Sailors and their Dogs Rescued by Navy After 5 Months at Sea

Tasha Fuiaba boarding USS Ashland Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Navy

On Wednesday, the dock landing ship USS Ashland rescued two woman sailors and their two dogs from their sailboat roughly 900 miles southeast of Japan. The sailboat had been spotted by a passing Taiwanese fishing boat, which alerted the navy.

The two sailors, Jennifer Appel and Natasha “Tasha” Fuiava, had attempted to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti and had been lost at sea for almost 5 months. Their engine had been crippled in a storm and their mast was damaged. Nevertheless, the sailors had a years worth of food and a watermaker aboard, so that both were well-nourished and in good health when rescued. 

ABC News reports: On May 3, Appel, an experienced sailor, and Fuiva, a sailing novice, set sail from Honolulu aboard the 50-foot “Sea Nymph” bound for Tahiti, 2,600 miles to the south. Also aboard were Appel’s two dogs, Valentine and Zeus.

Early into their voyage, they realized that a structural failure on their sailing mast would impact their voyage and limit their sailing speed to 4 to 5 knots.

Soon after that, they endured an intense storm with almost hurricane winds and 25-foot waves that buffeted their sailboat for two days. The storm left their engine flooded, but they still attempted to sail to Tahiti before they drifted westward in the Pacific.

So began a five-month journey across the Pacific that was at times depressing, reflective and frightful.

But while well-fed and nourished, the experience was “very depressing and very helpless” said Appel who noted that “you do what you can and what you have, you have no other choice.”

“You’re alive, you’re fed, you have water, the boys are happy and there’s love, and there are different sunrises and sunsets every day,” said Faiuva.

2 Mariners Rescued After Months Lost at Sea

Thanks to Phil Leon and Irwin Bryan for contributing to this post

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8 Responses to Two Sailors and their Dogs Rescued by Navy After 5 Months at Sea

  1. Jenny says:

    I very much enjoy your blog and read it often. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    I have a suggestion though, if I may. I don’t see any need to say “two woman sailors,” since one doesn’t typically say “two man sailors.” Not that there is anything wrong with clarifying their genders further along (although Jennifer and Natasha are usually women’s names). As a female sailor, I like to be thought of as…. a sailor.

    Again, thanks for your excellent blog.

  2. Jenny says:

    PS: To be fair, you did say “two sailors” in the blog title, and the sentence that I referred to was only in the body of the text.

  3. MHMT says:

    This is such a phoney to get publicity (film/book) am surprised it is even published. The only thing correct about it is the dogs claws!

  4. Peter Wright says:

    There is a strong smell of fish here.

  5. Doug Marsh says:

    Who made the boat?

    Why was it not scuttled?

  6. Doug Bostrom says:

    EPIRB on board, unused.

    Working on a book?

  7. Phyllis Thoth says:

    The entire story is fiction. They had six different ways to call for help and they all failed? The most important emergency beacon that would pinpoint their location wasn’t even used. Having a major U.S. government ship being used as a publicity stunt is not even humorous. They both are just plain liars. It’s a good thing the dogs were rescued, the women not so much.

  8. MHMT says:

    Doug you question why it was not scuttled? well because it is needed for the movie!