31.10.17

THE PACIFIC OCEAN IS NO PLACE TO PLAY.

Last week's feel-good story was the rescue of two women, supposedly missing at sea since sometime in May, turning up alive and well with their dogs along, somewhere off Japan.

One of the sailors, Jennifer Appel, joked years ago about things going wrong at sea.
Appel said she was reminded of a conversation about sailing she had with an acquaintance some 10 years ago.

“I was joking with someone,” she said. “And they said what happens when you go out to sea and you get broken? I said, ‘Oh, the Navy will come save me.’ ”
And these intrepid mariners have in fact been at sea since May.
The rescued women had departed May 3, intending to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti, [Joyce] Appel said, but her daughter’s phone was lost overboard the first day she was at sea, and she hadn’t been able to call since.

Then the women lost their engine in bad weather in late May, but believed they could still reach Tahiti using their sails.
But there's something, er, fishy, about that 'phone going in the drink.
Parts of their story have been called into question, including the tropical storm the two say they encountered on their first night at sea in May. National Weather Service records show no organized storms in the region in early May.

When asked if the two had the radio beacon aboard, the women told the AP on Friday they had a number of other communications devices, but they didn't mention the [I'm Sunk Near Here device].
Apparently Mrs Appel never told her daughter to be careful about picking up sailors in bars.
Key elements of the women's account are contradicted by authorities, weather reports and the basic geography of the Pacific Ocean. The discrepancies raised questions about whether Appel and her sailing companion, Tasha Fuiava, remember the ordeal accurately or could have avoided disaster.

The Hawaii residents reported that their sailing equipment and engine failed and said they were close to giving up when the U.S. Navy rescued them last week, thousands of miles off course. They were taken to Japan, where they didn't immediately respond to an email and call seeking comment Monday.

The Navy said they do not investigate incidents like this and they were only there to render assistance. The Coast Guard said its review of the case is ongoing, but that there is no criminal investigation at this time.

The two women met in late 2016, and within a week of knowing each other decided to take the trip together. Fuiava had never sailed a day in her life. They planned to take 18 days to get to Tahiti, then travel the South Pacific and return to Hawaii in October.

On their first day at sea, May 3, the two U.S. women described running into a fearsome storm that tossed their vessel with 60 mph (97 kph) winds and 30-foot (9-meter) seas for three days, but meteorologists say there was no severe weather anywhere along their route during that time.
Let's be grateful they didn't go to Davy Jones, and wait for the television dramatization that is likely to follow.

Sometimes, south seas adventures don't end so well.

No comments: