The US Navy rescued two women and their two dogs this week after spending nearly half a year lost at sea, KHON reports.
The women, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava of Honolulu, set sail last May from Hawaii to Tahiti, but unfortunately they never made it that far. A storm at the end of May destroyed the boat's engine, and, according to Gizmodo, they lost their satellite phone overboard.
Without power or any way to make long-range calls, Appel and Fuiava just floated aimlessly through the Pacific Ocean, sending out short-range distress signals in the hopes that a ship would be close enough to hear, but they failed to reach anyone.
"It was very depressing, and it was very hopeless," Appel told KHON.
"You can't get any help at all because you're in the middle of nowhere," Fuiava added. "And if it falls apart around you, you're swimming, and you're shark bait."
At one point during their months lost at sea, Appel and Fuiava floated into the middle of a pack of sharks, who got pretty pissed about the visitors and started hitting the sides of the craft.
"We were slowly maneuvering through their living room. They came by to slap their tails and tell us we needed to move along," Appel said. "[The sharks] decided to use our vessel to teach their children how to hunt. They attacked at night."
The women and dogs reportedly survived on the broken boat thanks to a water purifier that made the ocean water drinkable and a years' supply of dry pasta, rice, and oatmeal. Months of oatmeal and water isn't exactly a feast, but at least it was enough to keep cannibalistic fantasies at bay while hopelessly floating through an endless expanse of ocean, so that's something.
On October 24—five months after they originally set sail—Appel and Fuiava were finally spotted by a Taiwanese fishing boat floating about 900 miles off the coast of Japan. The fisherman called the US Coast Guard in Guam, and a Navy ship was sent in for rescue. The USS Ashland reached the broken sailboat on Wednesday morning and welcomed the women and their poor, poor dogs onboard.
"They saved our lives," Appel said. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the Navy ship] on the horizon was pure relief."
The four survivors are now traveling with the USS Ashland until the ship's next port of call, when they can finally make it to dry land. Hopefully the Navy's messdeck serves something besides pasta until then.