On May 3, 2017, Jennifer Appel and her friend Tasha Fuiava began a 2,700-mile adventure. Their 50-foot sailboat was to journey from Oahu, Hawaii to Tahiti. They were well stocked with food and water for the journey. Also, along for the ride was their two dogs, Valentine and Zeus. Things seemed good at first, and this was supposed to be an epic escapade. However, they had no idea that their journey would take such a fateful turn.
First, a piece of the mast failed. Additionally, on May 30th, a massive storm flooded the engine, and it took out almost all their communication devices. Every day, they made distress calls trying to get help. It seemed like they were all alone. No one was responding, and they drifted further and further into uncharted territories. For 98 days, they continued to make distress calls. Unfortunately, they were always out of range.
They recall one night that shook them to the core. A whole group of sharks encircled the boat, and they began to slap their tails at the hull time and again. Appel took the dogs to the lower level of the ship. Petrified, she instructed the dogs not to bark. She knew the sharks could smell them, but any noise would only make matters worse. Because so long had passed, the women thought that they would never be rescued. It seemed that all hope was gone, and they were weary from their journey.
It was on the 99th day that things changed. When they sent out a distress call, a Taiwanese fishing boat heard them. The captain towed the ship to safety. Despite their best efforts, the boat sustained significant damage during the tow. However, he radioed in for help from American Sailors. Though they didn’t end up in Taiwan, they were 900 miles west of Japan, which was more than 5,000 miles off their intended course.
They were taken to a U.S. Navy Base in Japan where they got flights home. Consequently, this voyage didn’t stop the women from wanting to try again. They intend on planning another journey soon. After five months at sea, most people would be leery of a do-over. However, this dynamic duo is destined to reach their goal no matter how difficult it seems.