They were adrift at sea with Appel's two dogs, Zeus and Valentine, cut off from the world.
Two women and their two dogs were rescued by a USA navy vessel after drifting in the Pacific Ocean for five months.
A planned voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti aboard a small sailboat didn't start off well for two Honolulu women.
They made a decision to continue on their journey, using the ship's sail as part of their bid to reach land.
The USS Ashland picked up Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava after a Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted their crippled boat on Tuesday.
But they weren't starving.
Thanks to advice from local fisherman, the two brought along a years worth of food and some backup supplies in case an emergency happened.
"And both of them - we actually thought it was lights out", Appel said, "and they were horrific".
"I'm telling you I've never seen any Stanley Cup victor come even close to the precision these five sharks had", Appel continued.
Appel and Fuiava had left Honolulu on May 3 aboard Appel's 50-foot vessel the Sea Nymph for what was supposed to be an 18-day trip to Tahiti. She said they first ran into challenges May 30.
"There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night", said Appel from the USS Ashland, the United States navy vessel that rescued them once the Taiwanese fishing boat passed on the distress signal.
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"We were just incredibly lucky that our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught ..."
Appel's mother told The Associated Press she never gave up hope her daughter would be found.
"There is a true humility to wondering if today is your last day, if tonight is your last night", she said.
In Sasebo, Japan, the USS Ashland was near the area on routine deployment.
"The US Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation", said Cmdr.
Ashland Command Master Chief Gary Wise welcomes aboard Jennifer Appel..
They said they have no fear of getting back in the water for some more sailing. "I couldn't have been more grateful paying taxes to the US Navy, who would honor us by going out of their way and holding up national security issues to save two women and two dogs who erroneously ended up on the other side of the planet". They will remain aboard the Ashland until the ship's next port of call.
"When we saw you guys coming over the horizon it was, 'Oh God, we're saved, '" Appel said.
"We learned that we love the ocean, that we can persevere past the limits of what we thought was tolerable", Appel says.
"You may as well use the time you have to do something beneficial", Ms Fuiava said.