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The Inertia

It’s hard to imagine, but two women who were rescued yesterday had drifted some 5,000 miles off course during their 2,600-mile journey between Hawaii and Tahiti. The pair was found somewhere between Guam and Japan, lost for five months at sea with their dogs and a year’s supply of oatmeal, rice, and pasta.

“When I saw the grey boat on the edge of the horizon, my heart leapt because I knew that we were about to be saved,” said Jennifer Appel, who was lost with shipmate Tasha Fuiava. “I honestly believed that we were about to die within the next 24 hours.”

The women left Oahu in mid-May on a journey that usually takes just over a month. But they hit bad weather. Their engine was flooded and their masts damaged beyond repair. They were left floating like a cork in the vast ocean, surrounded by sharks they said and left to the whims of the current.


“I (would go) 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 said.

Loneliness and despair can do strange things to people. Fuiava said she would work night watch, and try and shoot flares at passing ships, but to no avail, until their 99th day lost, when a passing Taiwanese ship found them and notified authorities.

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