Last month, the occupants of the Sea Nymph, a 50-foot sailing vessel that was drifting several hundred miles off of Japan were ostensibly rescued by a naval vessel, the USS Ashland.
There were two people on board the Sea Nymph, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, both Hawaii residents who were on a planned trip to Tahiti and the South Pacific when they ostensibly encountered a couple of storms as well as an attack from Tiger Sharks. They were supposedly lost for at least five months before they were rescued.
Initially, this event warranted nothing more than the typical “rescue at sea” news coverage — which it received. Having caught a little of the story on a local TV station, it just seemed like a couple of sailors who had gotten into trouble on the high seas and managed to find help-more or less.
However, the explanations and stories from the two women who were formerly stranded at sea have raised serious questions about what really occurred. This is because details are not adding up and common nautical sense and logic seem suspiciously absent during this trip.
Jennifer Appel, of Honolulu, gives rescuers a shaka as they approach her crippled sailboat, the Sea Nymph, after being lost at sea for months, about 900 miles southeast of Japan. Many people are now skeptical of the story that Appel and her sailing companion are telling.
Take for example, that Fuiava ostensibly had no sailing experience and or formal or informal nautical expertise. Considering this was a planned trip to Tahiti as well as other islands in the Pacific — a journey of several thousand nautical miles — it strikes one as odd to have someone wholly ignorant of sailing as a companion on a fairly long ocean voyage.
Ostensibly Appel had reportedly several years of sailing experience and therefore cannot feign ignorance here. In case of rough winds at seas or other dangers, a guest not versed in sailing would not be able to provide much in the way of helpful knowledge especially when all hands are needed to deal with such a situation.
Speaking of rough winds, Appel claimed the craft had encountered a “Force 11” storm off of Oahu in May. Ostensibly the storm kicked up 60 mph winds. However, the National Weather Service has reported there were no storm systems in effect at the time. In fact, reportedly NASA satellite images of the Pacific Ocean at that time show no storm patterns.
So it appears that there was, according to authorities, no recorded storm activity. If this indeed was the case, why invent a storm that didn’t exist?
Let’s just say for argument’s sake that a storm — Force 11 or any other type — hit the seas and impacted their craft. Why then didn’t they turn their Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon or EPIRB? It was clear that Appel and Fuiava had a EPIRB on the Sea Nymph yet the two never activated the device. If you are really in danger from storms or simply need help, why not activate a device that would send signals to craft of facilities elsewhere?
If they had issues on the seas and they were still within range of the Hawaiian Islands, why did they decide to forgo sailing and docking briefly on Maui or Lanai. Appel contended that both islands didn’t have harbors deep enough to accommodate her vessel.
Really? A 50-foot sailing craft is too big to dock at a pier on Maui? That simply makes no logical or factual sense. Perhaps if they were sailing a gigantic luxury yacht that might be an issue but their craft was a 50-foot vessel, hardly a massive boat by even layman’s standards.
Appel also noted their craft was attacked by 20- to 30-foot tiger sharks which ostensibly rammed the vessel. Experts note though that tiger sharks grow at best to 17 feet. It is also unlikely that they would simply ram a boat for no reason.
There are also other details that don’t make sense — a claim that they filed a float plan that doesn’t exist, their behavior when they were sighted and invited by a Taiwanese vessel who invited them aboard and they refused (though Appel asked if she could use a satellite phone). All of the details add up to a big fat zero logically.
I can only hope that the Coast Guard and other relevant authorities conduct a clear investigation of this incident.
What this reminds me of to some extent is the case of Donald Crowhurst, an British electrical engineer who sailed in the Sunday Times Around the World race (which required that participants sail in a vessel by themselves only) in the late 1960s.
Crowhurst — who sailed on a trimaran by himself — was later found to have given incorrect and outright false coordinates, times and miles covered. Crowhurst ultimately disappeared while at sea and he was never found.
It is clear looking at this so-called rescue that a deception has been perpetrated here. These ladies are clearly lying as anyone with any common sense can see.
The question is why? Why go out of your way to invent so many illogical prevarications?
While some have noted that they were publicity seekers looking to get a TV movie or even studio movie made from this so-called ordeal (Appel is reportedly a member of the Hawaii Actors Network website and has supposedly done extra work on a couple of TV shows), my journalistic instinct tells me that these two women were and are engaged in a cover-up.
The details range from modestly specific to patently illogical. Something happened out there which they don’t want people to know about.
This is why they fed the authorities and media such cockamamie horse feces. I can only hope that the Coast Guard and other relevant authorities conduct a clear investigation of this incident.
If the facts of this case are not determined, the fear is the truth may be lost at sea.
Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Columns generally run about 800 words (yes, they can be shorter or longer) and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.