Two Women and Their Dogs' Wild Lost-at-Sea Story Captivated the World — But Was it All a Hoax?

The plot thickens for two Hawaii women.

It was the kind of story that seemed scripted for a Hollywood movie: Two Hawaii women rescued by the U.S. Navy reported they had been lost at sea after their boat was crippled and sent way off course by a storm, so they drifted desperately — with their two dogs — for six months. But did it really happen as they said it did?

New questions have emerged since Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fiava were found 900 miles from Japan last week. For instance, according to a list of peculiarities assembled by the Daily Mail, the woman claimed they did not have an emergency radio beacon on board, but the Coast Guard found one — which had never been activated. And the fierce storm they said they encountered near the beginning of their journey was not actually recorded by meteorologists.


Further, they claim that they considered turning back after the storm hit, but nearby Hawaiian islands didn't have harbors deep enough for their boat, which was false.

They said that, days later, they couldn't stop for repairs on a nearby "uninhabited" island — but indeed Christmas Island, is inhabited and welcomes large vessels. Instead, they charted a new course 1,000 miles away in the Cook Islands, hundreds of miles beyond their original destination of Tahiti. When off Tahiti in June, the captain of the ship was reported to have told the Coast Guard they were doing OK and expected to land the next day — but the tale ended much differently, much later.

The saga, now in doubt, continues. The Coast Guard is investigating. And the women defended their account according to local news outlet Hawaii News Now.

Photo: Sarah Villegas/U.S. Navy

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