Were These Women Lying About Being Lost At Sea?

There's something about the ocean that keeps sailors, even people who were lost at sea, coming back time and again. But two sailors who did get lost on the ocean recently have many people wondering: were Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava really lost at sea, or were they making the whole thing up? Some think that rather than survivors of a trying ordeal they're really women lying about being lost at sea

Several factors about their saga has people questioning their story. For example, they had an emergency beacon but didn't use it. Stranger still, they seemed to actively avoid bringing their badly damaged ship into port several times. Other people point to the simple fact that it seems like too much of a coincidence that they would have all of their communications equipment break all at once. But if there's something about the ocean that keeps people coming back, there's also something that inspires the imagination of those who spend thousands of lonely hours at sea to stretch the truth at times.

  • They Never Used Their Emergency Beacon

    It might seem like something like an emergency beacon that calls rescuers to a stranded sailor's position would be a useful thing for someone in that situation to use. Apparently, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava didn't think so. Despite the fact that the two women had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, they decided to not use it because Appel claims she was instructed never to use such a device unless she was going to die within a day. Adding to the doubts about their story, the two didn't disclose in an interview to the Associated Press that they had a beacon. Appel admitted that she has since changed her mind about when it's appropriate to use the beacon:

    "That's a lesson learned for me, because that was the best chance we had in the ocean to get help,"

  • They Say None Of Their Communications Devices Worked

    Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava had a boat full of communications equipment that they could have used to call for help. There was just one problem: all six methods were broken. According to them, their satellite phone, radio, and GPS were all malfunctioning. All of this sounds a little too coincidental to Phillip R. Johnson, a Coast Guard officer who was part of the team that rescued the women. He never experienced a situation where all of the different forms of communications that the women had would all break at once.

  • It Seems Like They Lied About Surviving A Storm

    As for as how the women got knocked off course, they claim that a massive storm came along and blew them off course. Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava claim a terrible three-day storm off of Hawaii was the cause of their troubles. There were massive 30 foot waves and howling 60 mph winds that the women had to endure in their boat. There's just one problem; there is no record of a storm of the intensity they describe occurring on the day they say it did. The storm is also said to have caused one of the women to lose her phone overboard, but if there was no storm, what really happened to the phone? 

  • The Women Told The Coast Guard They Were Fine

    For two people who were lost at sea, it certainly didn't seem like Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava wanted to be rescued. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a ship made contact with the women in June off of the coast of Tahiti, which is a long way from Hawaii where they started their trip. A vessel apparently communicated with the pair and was told that the ship they were on did not need to be rescued and that they would be in port soon. This is despite the fact that the boat they were on was badly damaged and they had been floating around in the ocean for weeks.

  • They Made Up Not Being Able To Dock Their Boat

    There were several times during their ordeal that Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava could have made it to a port and reached safety. After a supposed storm, the one that the National Weather Service has no record of, damaged their boat, the two women say they considered sailing to a port. They didn't though, claiming that they thought their boat was too large for the nearby harbors. The thing is, the harbors were all more than deep enough. For example, the one at Christmas Island can handle huge ocean-liners in its port, and the women were merely using a 50-foot sailboat, which is relatively small. 

  • For Some Reason They Kept Changing Course

    For Some Reason They Kept Changing Course
    Photo: Hope For Gorilla / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Time and again, the women changed their course. At first, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava thought they couldn't bring their boat to a port nearby Hawaii. Then they rerouted to Christmas Island and again decided against going into port. That's when they made the decision to cross the ocean again and try to reach Tahiti, 1,000 miles away. That's when the real trouble started and their auxiliary engine broke and the pair were forced to wait out the next few months stranded at sea.